A celebration of culture in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

A celebration of culture in Carbondale

Trina Ortega
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Tortas, tamales, agua fresca, some South American “surprises,” and the quintessential fair sweet “algodon de azuca” (cotton candy), will be among the edibles at the fifth annual Festival Las Americas.

The festival, sponsored by Club Rotario Roaring Fork, starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sopris Park in Carbondale. Arts and crafts, and live music, are also on tap until the event wraps up at 8 p.m.

In previous years, the festival was held in September, but event organizers moved the date up in the season in hopes of better weather and to attract more attendees.

“We found that the September date was rainy, cold, and windy – perfect weather for staying at home and not coming out to the park,” said Club Rotario president Abraham Baeza.

The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the cultural richness of the Americas, and Baeza said Club Rotario is hoping to have more cultures, in addition to the Latino and Hispanic communities, attend and participate.

“The club puts so much effort into this event. We are hoping to make this event a tradition in the valley,” he said. “We always have our eyes and ears open to see where we can improve and help the community. We really want to get that great mix of people that is in the community and the valley.”

At least 20 vendors and organizations from throughout the valley will be represented at the festival, offering information and selling toys, crafts and food, including the traditional Mexican steak sandwiches, tortas. Additional Hispanic “fast foods” will be on hand, Baeza said, in addition to South American dishes.

Among the headline entertainers are Flama Show (described as the “mariscal,” or quarterback, of the event); a festive northern Mexico brass and guitar band, Liderez del Norte; and a full traditional mariachi band, Mariachi Alma de America.

Festival proceeds fund scholarships for local Latino high school seniors.

“This is our main fundraiser. This is where we put most of our time and effort,” Baeza said, noting that five students received scholarships last year.

“With more and more experience, we get more and more success,” he said. “The end feeling is to celebrate the diversity in the community. We hope people come have a nice day, come out and enjoy the sunshine and music, and at the end of the day knowing that the money will go to scholarships for students – that is our biggest reward.”

Volunteers are needed for various tasks during the day. Call 945-2400 for more information.

Although not officially part of the festival, performing that evening at 7:30 p.m. at Thunder River Theatre in downtown Carbondale will be the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico dancers. For tickets and information, call 925-7175.