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Festival showcases Latino culture

Chaffey High School dance club members Wendell Montague, Adriana Candelas, Joshua Magslang and Rosa Mota perform the Mexican hat dance at the 21st Annual Bienvenida Dinner on Saturday in Davenport Dining Hall. Live music was played throughout the night, and food was served for the event, hosted by the Latino Student Forum. / photo by Nicholas Mitzenmacher

Chaffey High School dance club members Wendell Montague, Adriana Candelas, Joshua Magslang and Rosa Mota perform the Mexican hat dance at the 21st Annual Bienvenida Dinner on Saturday in Davenport Dining Hall. Live music was played throughout the night, and food was served for the event, hosted by the Latino Student Forum. / photo by Nicholas Mitzenmacher

Tiffany Spears
Staff Writer

Davenport hosted a traditional Mexican feast while music filled the air at the 21st Annual Bienvenida Dinner and Dance on Saturday.

The Latino Student Forum event was a night of celebration open to students and the community.

Every year the Bienvenida has a different theme and this year’s theme was Noche de Peliculas, or movie night.

“I think it gives a community sense and a sense of different cultures,” sophomore engineering and Spanish major Cintya Lopez said.

This dinner and dance is the last and most important event of the year for LSF.

Davenport was full of faculty, students and family who came to enjoy the great food, music and dancing.

“We expected a lot of people to be here and just fun times,” said Lili Gradilla, president of LSF and senior liberal studies major.

The inspiration for the event came from memories of childhood and how many Latino families spend family time watching movies, shows and novellas.

The theme of family was a component of the event.

“This is the first time that my entire family has come,” Lili Gradilla said.

Families of students involved also participated in the event. And parents were able to meet with professors and enjoy presentations that included LSF pictures and highlighted the organization’s appeal.

The evening began with a Mariachi band that played throughout the night.

Davenport was decorated for the fiesta with colorful hues and a traditional Latin American look.

The preparation for Bienvenida took a lot of planning and hard work.

“We had different committee heads responsible for different parts of this event like decorations, food and music,” said vice president of LSF and junior athletic training major Maritza Ramirez.

Ramirez, who coordinated the event, said she was proud of the event and of her culture.

For dinner, students and family members enjoyed soft tacos, rice, beans and traditional desserts.

Two slide shows aired during dinner – one in the main dining room and one in the President’s Dining Room.

After dinner the current executive board members handed their titles off to next year’s executive board and awards were given out for excellent work.

The awards included the Ernie Granilo Service award, the Corazon Award, the student leader award, a La Verne Latino Alumni award and others.

Though dancing was the highlight of the night.

As variety of traditional Latin music played throughout the evening, many parents cut loose on the dance floor and enjoyed the time spent with their children.

Tiffany Spears can be reached at tiffany.spears@laverne.edu.

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