Latino Palooza gives students a chance to embrace culture

Itzzy Leon

Latino Palooza took place at Eastway Thursday evening from 5-9 p.m to celebrate different Latino cultures with food, dancing, music, games and prizes.

Latino Palooza involved multiple Latino organizations including SALSA, Alpha Psi Lambda, Lambda Theta Nu and Phi Iota Alpha.

Latino Networking Caucus (LNC) put together the event. LNC is a group of faculty and staff members on campus whose mission is to support the Latino culture on campus. Richard Roldan is the Chair of LNC and wanted to use the event as a way to bring all cultures together.

“To me it’s a night for not just the Latino community, but for everyone,” Roldan said. “Our job is to engage people.”

SALSA secretary Julia Marchese said Latino Palooza was a chance to bring all of the Latino organizations together.  

“We come here to represent ourselves and show our support,” Marchese said.

Latino Palooza had a variety of events including two piñatas, a dance off and a jalapeño-eating contest. The prizes included a PlayStation 4 and Beats headphones.

There was live music at the event with Grupo Quimbao playing as people danced.

“We will be line dancing,” Marchese said. “It’s like the cupid shuffle, but to a merengue song.”

A different variety of foods from multiple cultures were served including Brazilian, Spanish, Mexican, Argentinean and Puerto Rican.

“People are very excited about the food,” Roldan said.  

Tim Wright, assistant director of dining services and campus executive chef, said the preparation time for the food took weeks and the cooking took three days.

Wright, a third year worker for the event, said a lot of planning went into the menu and they tried to make it as authentic as possible.

“We searched recipes and did it authentically,” Wright said. “It’s good we have (Roldan) as a resource because he knows the authenticity of the food.”

One of the main chefs in charge of the food was Andrew Eith.

“Andrew is a very gifted chef, he’s always thinking about the food,” Wright said.

He said Eith wrote down the menu and then discussed the items needed and the details, such as preparation and cooking techniques.

Roldan said they have received positive feedback from the students about the food and the event.

“It’s nice that Kent is trying to open up to different cultures,” said freshman psychology major Mykia Harris-Redd.

Roldan said Latino Palooza is a great way to kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month, which started on Sept. 15, and runs until Oct. 15.

“Look out for SALSA and all the other Latin-based organizations because we have a lot of cool events planned,” Marchese said.

Itzzy Leon is the ethnic affairs reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].