August 17, 2001

Cal State San Marcos Students Host Oaxacan Cultural Festival

Students at California State University San Marcos will host the second-annual Guelaguetza, a festival celebrating the diverse indigenous cultures of the Southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, Sunday, August 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., on the cam-pus's Lower Field. This family event is modeled after the yearly Guelaguetza held in Oaxaca City, where members of many of the region's 23 indigenous groups share their distinctive music, dance, dress, and food.

Hosted by student groups, including Ballet Folklórico Mixtlan and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), the Guelaguetza is being organized and presented by the Coalition of Indigenous Oaxacan Communities (CODIO), a grassroots cultural organization in North County made up of Mixtec, Zapotec, Chinantee, Mixe, and other indigenous Oaxacan members. California is home to more than 60,000 Mixtec-speaking people, with 15,000-20,000 residing in San Diego County.

The celebration will include a blessing of the festival site, a parade featuring the different dance groups and musicians, a format recognition of invited dignitaries, and music and dance performances by each cultural group throughout the day. Traditional foods, such as corn and mole, and arts and crafts will be available for purchase. In addition, booths will be set up to local agencies, including Migrant Education, Vista Community Clinic, and the fire department, to provide information and demonstrations of their services.

The university's first annual Guelaguetza, held in 2000, attracted more than 5,000 people, many from the local Oaxacan community who came to celebrate the culture of their homeland. "I love to come out and listen to music from my state and see all the different people from Oaxaca come together here in California," said Algimiro Morales, an event organizer from COCIO.

The second annual Guelaguetza at Cal State San Marcos is open to everyone, and a $5 per person donation is requested. Children under the age of 12 can attend for free.

Return to the Frontpage