Cinco de Mayo celebration to be held Saturday

If you go

What: Integrated Community/Communidad Integrada fifth annual Cinco de Mayo celebration

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Wyman Museum, 94350 E. U.S. Highway 40, two miles east of Craig

Cost: Free admission, beer and food at a cost

— Although Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, Integrated Community wants everyone to celebrate together.

Tatiana Achcar, Integrated Community executive director, said this weekend's Cinco de Mayo celebration is an opportunity for community members to talk, despite their different backgrounds.

"The idea is to bring the local native community together with newcomers or immigrants to build a stronger community," Achcar said.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Integrated Community will sponsor the fifth annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Wyman Museum, 94350 E. U.S. Highway 40, two miles east of Craig.

The event will feature food, beer, desserts, cotton candy, a soccer tournament starting at noon, activities for children, a mariachi band from Denver, a children's piñata contest, a salsa competition sponsored by the Craig Chamber of Commerce and an opening prayer by Pastor John Turner at 11:30 a.m.

Achcar said having events like the Cinco de Mayo celebration was about more than just having a good time.

"When we put these events together, it gives the community a chance to step back from problems, issues, stress and differences and emphasize what's common among us all," Achcar said. "Children, parents and grandparents of all cultures enjoy the same things - eating, listening to music, watching soccer and having events for children."

Having a fun setting allows for communication between people who otherwise might not have talked, Achcar said.

"It's essential - it's not just about having fun," Achcar said. "It's about you and your neighbor from a different state or a different country finding each other in a cultural event like this. Your families can meet, and you can learn their first names and be a lot more open with working with your neighbors and community members toward resolving any issues or problems."

Achcar said Integrated Community might have more cultural celebrations similar to Cinco de Mayo.

"In the future, we may have a cultural event that brings to light many different cultures," Achcar said. "It's all about interaction between the local cultures and all the other cultures that have joined this community over the past few decades."

The events are a way Integrated Community reaches out.

"Events are important - they're all about fun, and having fun together and establishing dialogue and opening avenues of communication," Achcar said.

Having a community of different cultures working together is important.

"Any community that wants to be sustainable and make progress and provide for everyone needs to be cohesive," Achcar said. "If not culturally, then at least be able to communicate - be able to come to the table and be able to have dialogue."

And dialogue leads to problem solving, Achcar said.

"If your neighbor parks their car in the yard and you don't like it, instead of having a bias or talking about the problem, you can knock on their door and talk, because you met at the event and your children played together," Achcar said. "These events are a long-term, ongoing process to get communication and to get people to share their different points of view."

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