It's fiesta time for Latinos



As more than 7 percent of Federal WayŽ’s population, Latinos have good reason for an official city fiesta Dec. 13 at Decatur High School.

For two hours, beginning at 6 p.m., the cityŽ’s Diversity Commission will host Ž“Celebrating Our Latino Heritage,Ž” a community event featuring the culture, music and food of Mexico.

A buffet dinner, presented by Qdoba Mexican Grill, will be accompanied by a live mariachi band, a performance by Mexican folk dancers, a display of Mexican artifacts, and a keynote address by Antonio Sanchez, a Mexican-American historian who is an international relations and development official with the lieutenant governorŽ’s staff.

The event is part of the commissionŽ’s effort to create a greater awareness of the cultural diversity in Federal Way by staging periodic events that focus on particular ethnic groups.

Latinos in Federal Way number 6,266 (7.5 percent of the cityŽ’s total population). Within the Latino segment are 4,317 people of Mexican descent.

The salute of the communityŽ’s heritage will include music by Mariachi Ayutla, a mariachi band whose 10 members originally are from Mexico and now live in King County.

Also performing will be Bailadores de Bronce, a Seattle-based Mexican folklore dance troupe that formed more than 28 years ago and has danced at festivals in several states and in Canada.

Historical artifacts on display will include a sombrero and an apple-picking canister, both from the 1860s. They belong to Sanchez and his wife, Carolina Lucero, a member of the Diversity Commission. The couple live in Redondo.

Sanchez will speak on the history of Hispanics in Washington.

Commission member Anel Mercado, who is coordinating the event with Lucero, said an attendance of at least 200 people is anticipated.

Ž“WeŽ’re very excited. ItŽ’s going to be a very interesting and fun event. WeŽ’re proud to be doing this,Ž” said Mercado, a Latino.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and

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