We arrived about 3:00p.m. (2001-09-08) for the festivities which began at noon and were to continue until 8. We couldn't stay the whole time because we had another engagement in the evening. Straight away, we found the dance stage - a gymnasium with an imported floor for dancing. The acoustics were terrible, but the dancing was delightful. We watched Grito de Zacatecas Dance Group performing Mexican traditional dance for an hour - and they must have been exhausted at the end. They came from Zacatecas thanks to the Mexican consulate in Raleigh, and they changed into several different outfits throughout the day. I took a number of pictures of the dancing but not of much else. Fortunately, the fiesta organizers put up a page of their own with other pictures.
|Swinging and stomping in the Mexican style|
|Live band! Better sound? Nope - gymnasium acoustics suck.|
|The drummer couldn't stand to just watch - he had to dance, too!|
Announcements were given in English and Spanish. I imagine Spanish was the most useful language for the audience since probably more people knew Spanish or both languages than people who knew just English.
We continued on to the health fair where we found brochures and trinkets in both languages - and booth staff ready to converse with anyone who happened by. Elizabeth chatted with several health department people and got names of other folks to help with her honors' thesis on the culture shock of giving birth in the U.S. instead of rural Mexico.
We saw some crafts and hair berets from Mexico - costing about three times as much here as they did in Taxco. We didn't see the excellent Oaxaca mushroom crafts we'd found in Taxco. A great many paintings stood around, some for sale, others just for viewing. Oddly enough, not a one featured the Santa Prisca church in Taxco! The nerve!
The fair was about half indoors, half outdoors. Some folks carried on in the sports fields while large inflated toys entertained younger kids for a dollar a ride. Funnel cakes and other greasy foods tempted our pallettes, though we resisted - we'd had lunch before and had an appointment for dinner.
Attendance? They had about 42,000 last year. The first time they did it, they expected 500 and got 3,000. Thereafter, they expected (and got) big crowds. Why have it at the Chapel Hill school? No idea. It was nice to have some indoor activities, but it was also strange to me - being accustomed to having such events outdoors.
My favorite part of the whole affair was the ability to visit Mexico without leaving the United States. I'm sure everyone else there enjoyed it for the same reason.