RCC celebrates Mexican history, culture

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By Martin Iniguez, Jr and John Waterman

By Martin Iniguez, Jr and John Waterman

“Free food, drinks and music in front of the bookstore promenade,” is what caught students’ attention May 5.

The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Riverside City College “was located at the heart of the campus, which is the bookstore promenade,” said Board of Commissions Director Esther Galdamez.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo does not mark the date Mexico declared their independence, but rather a May morning in 1862 when 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated 8,000 Mexican traitors and the French Army at Puebla, Mexico.

Now, in the present day, Cinco de Mayo has become a day when family and friends come together with the goal of simply having a good time, enjoying one another’s company and celebrating Mexican culture.

“I think it’s cool that they unify ethnic holidays,” said RCC student Mike Bohm.

The RCC Cinco de Mayo Fiesta was hosted by the ASB and Outreach programs.

Rather than a lukewarm hotdog or slice of pizza accompanied by a bottle of water, the event featured song and dance, as well as tacos, beans, rice, assorted vegetables and fresh Agua limon Fresca and Agua de Jamaica.

Food lines began at the Bookstore Promenade and stretched down to Admissions and Records.

“It’s perfect! I like the food, the salsa and the music,” said RCC student Evengelina Ledezma.

The fiesta was also host to a variety of contests including: The Tissue Decoration Contest, the Salsa Making Contest and the Chili Eating Contest.

The winners of these contests were awarded a $20 Starbucks gift-card.

The Chili Eating Contest featured 6 students who were each assigned a plate complete with a whole Jalapeño pepper, Habanero pepper, Serrano Pepper and Chili de Arbol pepper.

The stipulations for the contest required that the contestant clear their plate and that the drinking of water was not allowed prior to the completion of the previous stipulation.

Participants ate through burning mouths, watering eyes and running noses as onlookers cheered them on.

With all of the peppers gone, but still sweating bullets, RCC student Adrian Barrio was declared the winner and received his prize.

“There’s a big turnout because the cost of food is becoming expensive,” said Associated Students of Riverside City College student vice-president Israel Landa. “So the free food gives back to the students for paying their ($10) student fee.”

Coordinating an event as elaborate as the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta requires extensive planning by those involved.

“We’ve been planning for a month putting the music together and the whole event,” said Judy Bela-Torre, the Director of the Event.

By simply taking a glance around the promenade on Cinco de Mayo, it was easy to see that the Student Government got the student reaction they were hoping for.

“It was a very successful event,” said Galdamez.

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