Gu­atemalan Mer­chant As­so­ci­a­tion of Mercer County Pres­i­dent Es­tu­ardo Ar­riola re­calls the first eth­nic cel­e­bra­tion

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - NEWS - L.A. Parker Colum­nist

Es­tu­ardo Ar­riola strolled through Colum­bus Park in the city’s Cham­bers­burg sec­tion yes­ter­day and re­mem­bered his first Gu­atemalan Pa­rade & Fes­ti­val.

“The first one,” Ar­riola said, tilt­ing his head slightly back­ward and rais­ing his eyes, “we hoped that we would get 500 peo­ple to show up. And then the fes­ti­val started and we were look­ing at 5,000. We got through but hon­estly, we never imag­ined such a turnout.”

Ar­riola, pres­i­dent of the Gu­atemalan Mer­chant As­so­ci­a­tion of Mercer County, said his first ex­pe­ri­ence served as a great teach­ing mo­ment and his group gets more ed­u­cated dur­ing each event. The fifth cel­e­bra­tion oc­curs Sun­day in Colum­bus Park from 1 p.m. un­til 8:30 p.m.

Or­ga­niz­ers have added lights as the cel­e­bra­tion presses into evening hours. Ar­riola smiled about a small Gu­atemalan dream that mor­phed into a ma­jor oc­ca­sion.

“And we’re ready for a great pa­rade and fes­ti­val on Sun­day. We have lots of ven­dors, per­form­ers and a se­cu­rity de­tail that in­cludes four po­lice of­fi­cers. We want peo­ple to come out and en­joy Gu­atemalan cul­ture. This is a cel­e­bra­tion that in­vites ev­ery­one.”

Ar­riola called the fes­ti­val an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to en­joy mu­sic, food and pageantry.

“It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to know that ev­ery­one’s wel­come,” Elmer San­doval, an ad­vi­sor for the Gu­atemalan Mer­chant As­so­ci­a­tion of Mercer County.

“But Lati­nos? We’re not try­ing to be sep­a­rate from the com­mu­nity. We want to be part of, en­joy­ing ev­ery­thing this coun­try has to of­fer. We want to share this pa­rade and fes­ti­val.”

The pa­rade be­gins at Franklin Park then even­tu­ally reaches Hamil­ton Ave. for the park party.

Ar­riola said the Fes­ti­val will fea­ture a park packed with food ven­dors and stage acts through­out the day.

Es­tu­ardo Ar­riola (right) pres­i­dent of the Gu­atemalan Mer­chant As­so­ci­a­tion of Mercer County and Elmer San­doval, an ad­vi­sor, dis­cussed Sun­day’s Gu­atemalan Pa­rade & Fes­ti­val at city’s Colum­bus Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.