Neither a chance of rain nor a Brazilian dance group canceling their appearance on Saturday was able to stop this year’s fiesta from being a success.
Viva Quad Cities president, Luis Puentes was impressed with the bonding that he saw saying that the bonding needs to occur more often and not just the day of Viva.
“I just got done talking with some people form Peru, Bolivia they were excited to hear about the Bolivian dancers. They would like to see more diversity of the Latin countries,” Puentes said.
Puentes was also on the stage to present the scholarships for the Viva Quad Cities scholarship recipients.
“It warms my heart seeing all these young people wanting to pursue higher education. Last year we were fortunate enough to give forty different scholarships, this year the turnout as far as applicants wasn’t as great but we have 17 wonderful recipients and we’re just so happy to present them with a scholarship,” he said.
Other featured events included a college fair, face painting in the children’s area, Mexican folkloric dancing from the Quad Cities Ballet Folkroico, temporary tattoos, and even the Bettendorf Police Department on Segways which are scooters with 2 parallel wheels and a handle bar. Officer Bruce Schwaz who’s involved in the fiesta for the second year said that it feels like your floating.
“It’s kind of a novelty piece, I don’t have to walk,” he said.
Araceli Mancerat attended the fiesta for the first this year at the Bettendorf location. She had been to it when it used to take place in Moline, Ill. She thing she liked the most was that the Hispanic people would get together.
Her son, Julian Mancerat got a wolf tattoo. He enjoyed the fiesta saying it was great because of the cool tattoos and necklaces.
Grand Marshall for this year’s fiesta was the founder of the Quad Cities Ballet Folklorico, Arnulfo Camarillo. Mr. Camarillo was honored for being selected this year and thanked everybody involved with Viva Quad Cities saying that Viva does the event for education, while picking diverse music and recognizing that it benefits the Latino community. For the youth, Camarillo said that they should be prepared to help with issues of immigration, unemployment and the government.
“The only way to help is with educated people, get an education,” Camarillo said.