Ongoing smoke and travel restrictions didn’t stop a festival from happening at the Boundary Museum and Archives celebrating Latin culture.
The museum held Latin Day on Saturday featuring music, authentic food and family-friendly games with a focus on Mexican and Latin American heritage.
The museum wanted to host an event that would attract city residents and the Latin American people and families who live and work in the area, many of whom are employed in the agricultural businesses around Grand Forks, explained Mathieu Drolet, museum executive director and curator.
The crowds were smaller than expected, he said, but there was still a steady stream of people coming and going from the museum’s grounds, many of whom stopped to sample real Mexican cuisine like tamales, tacos and elote (Mexican street corn).
There was supposed to be a live band featuring Latin music, but they couldn’t attend due to newly-imposed travel restrictions.
“It’s still a good turnout and we felt we needed to have this to make the people that come here from Mexico and other Latin American countries to work on the farms feel welcome,” he said. “They live here, many for several decades, and we want the community to meet them because it’s almost like they live in parallel worlds.”
He added they tried to time the festivities for when farm employees were finished work so the community could get to meet them.
Even though smoke kept some people away, Hugo Del Aguila said a festival like this is needed to help the community at large see this other community living with them.
“We are trying to make the invisible, visible,” he said. “They work here, shop in stores, their kids go to school here, but there is very little Latin and Mexican presence in the city and we are hoping to change that with an event like this.”
There are plans to host another Latin Day next year.