Piñata Festival at Southside Park
The 3rd Annual Piñata Festival was celebrated at Southside Park on a hot Saturday. The heat however was not much of a deterrent as families came to enjoy a day full of art, kids events, music, and of course piñatas.
Nothing says celebration or party more than a piñata. Over 30 large piñatas hung from trees and were displayed throughout the area in front of the amphitheater. Several ornate piñatas also lay on the ground.
Visitors also had the opportunity to make their own as piñata building workshops were offered. A sugar skull making station was also part of the event along with various art activities.
A couple of food trucks sold specialties for visitors to enjoy. The event also included performances by Maquilli Tonatiuh Aztec Dancers, Agua de Beber Capoeira, La Misa Negra,DJ El Indio, and DJ Leydis.
The event initially was begun and hosted by Spanglish Arte. During the first couple of years the festival was held on 23rd Street between I and J where Spanglish is located. Last year the event filled the street with local artisans and performers.
The event has grown and this year it was held at Southside Park. Many more artists, vendors and performers helped draw guests to the event.
The larger venue was coordinated by Spanglish Arte, Sol Collective and Unseen Heroes. These groups worked hard for the event and along with other organizations such as La Raza Galería Posada and others put together a great program for the Sacramento community to enjoy.
Unseen Heroes Events Coordinator, Maritza Davis welcomed guest to the festival. Davis said, “Welcome to the 2012 Piñata Festival. Thank you for coming today, we have a great lineup of music and performances headlining today.” With that announcement the celebration began.
The Maquilli Tonatiuh Aztec Dancers opened the celebration with several dances to honor mother earth. Aztec dancers wearing beautifully adorned costumes danced as they were accompanied by rhythmic percussion beats. Several in the group danced barefoot.
All dancers wore “chachayotes” (shells worn at the ankle making rattle sounds) to keep in rhythm with the drum beats. I felt the powerful rhythmic drum and chachayote sounds and fell into a semi-trance. The heat, bare feet and full sun shining down on the dancers did not seem to affect them as they thoroughly entertained the audience.
One of the dancers took the microphone after they finished. She told a sad story about a nephew who was recently killed. She talked about the meaning not only of their dances they performed but also to say that life is celebrated when families come together and not to loose track of that saying, “We have to celebrate life to the fullest and tell each other how much we love each other. Embrace our children, ourselves and our life. Don’t take things for granted be grateful for them and nature around us.”
Various acts also provided entertainment at the Southside Park Amphitheatre. I had to leave the festival for a while after the Aztec dancers had performed. While I was gone I missed Agua de Beber Capoeira Dancers and DJ El Indio performances.
Several piñateros (piñata makers) showcased their piñatas and talked about what inspired them to create their work.
One of the piñateros was Armando Sierra who took pride on his Los Rakas creation saying, “I made that one with the gold tooth. I made it to honor one of my favorite bands Los Rakas and hope they’ll come back to Sol Collective soon.”
Most of the artisan stations were in the shade, under umbrellas or portable sunshades. Many hand craft items were available for guests to purchase and also included a station that showcased the work of John S. Huerta.
As I returned to the park, La Misa Negra was on stage performing. During their performance several dancers moved to their music as they played
DJ Leydis kept people dancing and her beats were enjoyable and full of bounce.
Several raffle prizes were given away and included art, jewelry, shirts, a bike and other prizes donated by organizations at the event.
As the festival was winding down Mari Arreola, Creative Director of Spanglish Arte in describing the event said, “This year we were looking for artists looking outside the box. We looked for artists and business to work with to promote culture and art making.”
Arreola also gave kudos to Unseen Heroes and Sol Collective for motivating young artisans to become involved in the Piñata Festival. “It’s great to see them working to represent the idea of embracing cultures and collaborating to promote this festival.”
A large piñata full of treats was set up in a shady area to the right of the amphitheater.
To be in accordance with the day permit secured Sol Collective adult volunteers helped break the piñata but the kids enjoyed the treats that came out of it.
Les Guffin helped his two kids Leslie and Ezekiel sort through their candy. Guffin, who lives in Natomas, came to the event to spend time at the park saying, “I just brought my kids to enjoy a nice day out and enjoy some culture.” Guffin found out about the event through social media and was glad he attended.
The event was a lot of fun and hopefully it will return to Southside Park again next year. The larger venue was very enjoyable and allowed for live and DJ music performances to liven up the festival. Park settings are also a great place to bring families to enjoy a day together.
Piñata making workshops were being offered leading up to the event and other similar workshops will continue to be offered. Check the Spanglish Arte and Sol Collective websites to see when these workshops may be offered again or to learn more about other events being planned.
The 3rd Annual Piñata Festival provided a great day full of culture, family and of course piñatas. Sol Collective, Spanglish Arte, Unseen Heroes and all the volunteers on hand put together a great event and helped visitors enjoy a wonderful festival.