In the Dutchess County Spotlight
Fourth annual Poughkeepsie La Guelaguetza
Festival of Oaxacan culture and history
On Sunday, July 29th, Hudson River HealthCare and El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie present the Fourth Annual Guelaguetza Festival, celebrating the traditions, culture and flavors of Mexico. The free festival fills Waryas Park from 1-7pm.
Poughkeepsie's Guelaguetza Festival features Mexican folk dance performances, traditional and popular music, Mexican and American food, and children's activities. Performances include a lineup of dance and musical acts, including dance performances by El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie; Mid-Hudson Mexican Folkloric Group; Grupo de Danza Tusimapan; and Grupo de Mujeres del Ecuador.
Music is provided by Sonido Mausser and Banda Scalaband. Area nonprofit groups are on hand to share information. On view is the exhibition "La Lavanderia," a cross-cultural photography show featuring images by regional photographers. This popular exhibit, shown in Poughkeepsie and Peekskill, has been expanded for 2012.
"The most important part of the festival is the sharing traditions across cultures," said Felipe Santos, organizer and director of El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie. "That's what the word 'guelaguetza' means. This is for people of all backgrounds and cultures to celebrate how our diversity makes us a stronger and richer community."
Poughkeepsie's Guelaguetza Festival is a replication of a world-famous cultural celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico, that's been celebrated for hundreds of years. The word guelaguetza is from the Zapotec language and translates to "mutual offering." The essence of the celebration is individuals and groups working together to better the community. As one community shares its traditions, and appeals for a bountiful harvest, others do the same, setting up reciprocity that benefits all. The Guelaguetza celebration in Mexico traditionally takes place the last two Mondays in July, and is based on pre-colonial traditions used to bring forth rain and an abundant harvest season. Communities from throughout the state of Oaxaca gather to present their regional culture in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food.
Poughkeepsie's Guelaguetza is a community-generated festival. Since its inception in 2009, it's been organized by members of Poughkeepsie's large Oaxacan community. Attendance in 2009 was several hundred; the 2011 festival attracted a culturally and generationally diverse audience of more than 1,500 people from the Mid-Hudson region and beyond.
Sponsored by Hudson River HealthCare and Somos La Llave del Futuro, Inc., with assistance from the Dutchess County Arts Council Folk Arts Program. La Guelaguetza is free and open to all on Sunday, July 29, 2012 1pm- 7pm Waryas Park, Poughkeepsie. Call 845-454-3222 or visit www.artsmidhudson.org