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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Community celebrates heritage at Latinopalooza

The wind caught balloon animals a clown had made for some children, while others gathered around a magician who was conjuring coins and scarves out of thin air. A D.J. played music as people ate popcorn, swung at a pinata and tried to win goldfish and candy in games.

Senior Brian Hunter was one of the students who attended these festivities at Latinopalooza outside the Union late Saturday afternoon. University staff, along with community members and their children also attended.

Hunter heard about the event in his Ethnic Studies class and decided to see what it was all about. Despite having bad luck at the fish game – he didn’t win one – Hunter enjoyed the clown, magician and some popcorn.

Latinopalooza is a Latino Student Union tradition that has been happening for more than five years. It’s one of 18 events that celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

“It’s our biggest event for Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Hector Hernandez, senior and LSU president.

Hernandez explained that it’s “a way to have fun, but give the campus a bit of culture and an idea of what the organization does.” It also gives people an idea of what it means to be Latino.

There were around 1,000 people at last year’s event and they were expecting at least that, plus a little more this year, according to Hernandez.

In order to advertise for this year, Natalie Covarrubias, senior and LSU public relations, dropped off fliers at area elementary schools to get the word out to the Bowling Green community. They wanted to let more people know that LSU is involved and wants to be involved with the community, too.

“[We] were reaching for community involvement,” Covarrubias said.

Creating a sense of community and belonging was also important to LSU. The games and activities provided an atmosphere for making friends and connecting with others who have similar backgrounds.

For Florinda Hernandez, University alum, that sense of belonging to a community has lasted even after she graduated. She has a job in Toledo, so she can’t go home to Texas all the time. She returns to the University to get that sense of family instead.

“Even after graduation, I come back here like it’s family,” she said.

The sense of having a family away from one’s real family “keeps you from being sad and missing home,” according to Florinda Hernandez.

Much of that sense of family comes from having some of the same memories and interests. Hernandez noted that, for her, it’s nice to have people who know what menudo, a soup made with cow stomach, is and who remember what it’s like to have fresh, warm tortillas.

As the sun set and people began to get hungry, the activities moved inside to the Union Multipurpose Room. People filed in and found a place to sit as local band La Revancha began playing. Music and the smell of Latin food, like tortillas and flan, filled the Union.

University students and staff mixed with community members and families to eat and enjoy the music. Before long, most of the tables were filled. The lines stretched around the room as people waited for food.

That’s exactly what LSU was looking for.

Latinopalooza was free, though donations were being accepted, and open to the public.

“It’s a way for students and the community to hang out,” said Hector Hernandez.

Arkilah Womack, senior, missed the part outside, but went to the dinner and music at night “to experience culture and socialize with people and eat good food.”

As the night progressed, La Revancha finished their set and Sammy DeLeon y Su Orchestra took the stage. People tapped their feet and bobbed their heads to the music.

Overall, Latinopalooza went well, according to Hector Hernandez, and LSU will definitely continue to host it in the future.


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