Today we went to the ¿Qué Pasa? Festival in Richmond, VA. It was a celebration of Hispanic heritage at the city’s Science Museum. The first thing I noticed when we pulled up, besides the incredible number of people, was that the museum looked just like the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. It had the dome at the top and everything. The only difference was the museum was longer and not as brightly painted.

I noted that the festival was both indoors and outdoors. That was a good thing, because I saw some clouds off in the distance that looked like rain clouds. I could also smell the rain coming, as the old folks would say. I could see some dancers performing as we were walking up. They looked like flamenco dancers with the brightly colored dresses and the castanets on their hands. They must have been finishing up, because a band was coming on next. Another thing I noticed was that there were a crazy number of vendors outside. There had to be about a hundred craft, food, and sponsor booths, once we walked inside, there were hundreds more!

¿Qué Pasa? Hispanic Cultural Festival - Photo by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

¿Qué Pasa? Hispanic Cultural Festival – Photo by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

We walked past the compass swinging across the globe and towards the elevators. Before we could push the button something bright caught my eye. PIÑATASSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! Piñatas lined this long hallway. Apparently, the festival organizers asked the local high schools to participate in a piñata design challenge. So the schools submitted their best piñatas. They were unbelievable!!!! All shapes, all sizes, all colors! They were just astounding.

I started to get a little cold and a little hungry. I saw an arepas vendor outside that I wanted to try out, but on my way out I was distracted by a group of guys and girls dance-fighting. It’s called capoeira. I watched them for a while until my stomach started growling. I searched out the arepas vendor and got one. When I came back, the capoeira people were just finishing up. Some random guy called out for them to come over. He said, “I know how to dance-fight, too,” and started break dancing. It was hilarious!

¿Qué Pasa? Hispanic Festival Piñata poster - Photo by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

¿Qué Pasa? Hispanic Cultural Festival – Photo by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

I walked a little further down the complex and there was a fashion show going on. I thought it was wedding gear, but it was Quinceañera fashion. I sent a text message to the girls to tell them about it as I walked away. Tess texted back to say they were doing Zumba inside and I was welcome to join them if I liked. I wasn’t interested, so I went to go see the Mariachi band play. That is, until it started to drizzle. That was my cue to head back inside.

I walked around for a little bit and was happy to see so many Hispanic cultures represented at one festival. Everyone looked so proud to take part in such celebrations of diversity. I was happy to be a part of the crowd and support these kinds of festivities. I’d say it was a success, despite the rain. I would definitely come back.

Activities:

  1. What is capoeira?
  2. What does the name “¿Qué pasa?” mean? – Think of an alternative name for the festival.
  3. Is there a similar festival in your hometown? Describe it.