Don't Blink!  Photograph by Devan Kaufman

Don’t Blink!
Photograph by Devan Kaufman

Clear blue skies, a soft breeze, and the leaves at different transient periods served the perfect backdrop for the Cville Sabroso Spanish Festival that took place September 20 at the Mcguffey Art Center. Immediately taking over my senses was the chanting, deep throb of beating drums, and the tantalizing smells of fresh corn tortillas and roasting meat. Walking closer, I found myself surrounded by a hodge podge of excitable kids, parents chasing those kids, and a man demanding, “I don’t care! As long as it’s corn and not flour!” My immersion in this whirlwind of activity briefly distracted me from the elegance of the Mcguffey Art Center draped in flags of Hispanic countries with a makeshift stage on one of its steps. My appreciation of attention to detail slowly gave way to my stomach’s demands.

  After approaching one of the food trucks and asking what a torta was (a Spanish sandwich), I settled with fresh corn tacos filled with tender carnita (pork) and sharp smelling cilantro. Noticing a man beside me being handed a coke dripping in iced cold goodness, I added that to the order as well. After all, this Coca Cola came from Mexico meaning there is real cane sugar on the ingredient list, not corn syrup. Adding my container of tacos and dripping Coca Cola to my burden of  phone, keys, and notepad (why oh why hadn’t I brought a purse?), I scouted out a shady spot to eat.

  Halfway in, a new set of dancers took to the stage in a flurry of brightly colored skirts. In a sudden movement of panic that I was missing a photo opportunity, my precariously balancing carnitas fell to the ground, the remains of which would later be discreetly eaten in the car. The food trucks, dancers, musicians, and array of people left a feeling of always being in motion. Although humble in size, the festival gave a powerful pint sized portrayal of Hispanic culture. I was afraid to blink in the fear of missing something. Taking a break from the flurry of activity near the stage, I strolled over to the vendors. At the end of my perusing, I was the proud owner of a woven palm leaf bracelet supporting the conservation of the rainforest. Sure it didn’t exactly fit into my college kid budget, but I was getting a cool accessory and helping people and the environment out in the process. How could I not?

  Soon appearing on the cement steps of the stage was the person I most wanted to see. Estela Knott herself, the organizer of the entire event singing and playing a jarana alongside fellow musicians and friends. I had the pleasure of interviewing Knott about this festival and Luminaria which she is the director of.  Her passion for music and the arts spurred her to travel all over Central and South America where she encountered “casas de culturas” translating into “houses of culture” where people performed, could take classes,  “everything to do with the where people lived and how they lived and why they lived.” This among other events led to the creation of Luminaria an organization whose mission is to educate and bridge the culture gap through the arts and music. Her passion for Luminaria shines through Cville Sabroso, a festival that I look forward to attending next year.

  With that last thought, I meandered back to my car sipping the now warm dregs of my corn syrup free Coca Cola and my new bracelet safely in tow. All to the background of Knott’s vibrant soulful voice floating on the breeze. Perfecto.

Short URL: http://www.piedmontforum.com/?p=22916

Posted by on Oct 16 2014. Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Events, From the Forum. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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