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Buen Gusto

The virtual Guelaguetza is coming

Por Davide De la Cruz
October 2020
Each year, La Guelaguetza Festival is held in Poughkeepsie, New York on the first Sunday in August. La Guelaguetza celebrates the diverse culture of the eight regions in the state of Oaxaca, in Mexico. The festival consists of different crafts, a great food menu and above all, a celebration with multiple dance groups. The festival started twelve years ago, as a small event in a church, and has now become an annual tradition in Waryas Park.
This year, the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but the Poughkeepsie community did not give up. Now on Sunday, October 18, for the first time, La Guelaguetza will be virtual. The Grupo Folklórico de Poughkeepsie and the Guelaguetza organizing committee have committed their time and effort to create a pre-recorded event to continue the tradition. Dances have been recorded live from Oaxaca, and the committee hired a camera crew, a video editor, and website designer to deliver the best possible virtual festival.

The festival will be broadcast on Facebook Live from 1 to 3 pm on Sunday October 18 and will also be available through YouTube and the website. Felipe Santos (Director of the Grupo Folklórico de Poughkeepsie) and Mariel Fiori, (Publicity Chair of the organizing committee, and Managing Editor of La Voz magazine) will be serving as hosts for the event.

The most difficult thing has been to create a community presence, since we are socially distant. With the challenge of the COVID19 restrictions, and the committee's commitment to public safety, everything has to be considered. Peggy Sisselman, secretary of the organizing committee says, “This event is for anyone interested in learning about indigenous people, and the cultures of Mexico. Anyone who likes lively dancing, beautiful music, and people who enjoy sharing traditions with each other. It's also for anyone who wants to lift their spirits during these tough times. It will be difficult not to smile when you see the dancers in their colorful costumes and listen to the music".

“This year's festival is dedicated to the memory of Carlos Chacón, founder of one of our regular dance groups: “Zaadxil Danza de los Zancudos” explains Felipe Santos. The opening ceremony and then multiple bands will be broadcast from Oaxaca, Mexico. It will be the premiere of the recordings of the dance groups, and the local and Mexican singers.

The issue of food was resolved with Culinary Institute of America students who interviewed several local Oaxacan restaurant owners and made it possible for the information to be presented online. Finally, there will be a section of the festival dedicated to the greetings of the dignitaries, organizers and fans of La Guelaguetza. A list of local non-profit organizations that serve the Latino community will be included on the website.

Special invitation to youth
The word Guelaguetza is an original word from the Zapotec language and its meaning is an offering or gift!
We invite K-12 grade artists to create a work of art in any medium and setting that reflects Oaxaca and its culture. Attach a photo of your art, fill out the form. The work will appear on the website that will be available on October 18 (! Don't miss it!

For more information, follow La Guelaguetza de Poughkeepsie in Facebook

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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