Photo of a dancer

CROOKSTON, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Crookston is proud to bring back one of our most treasured spring events “In the Spirit of Cinco de Mayo”. “With help from the university and Crookston community, this event highlights the celebration of Mexican traditions and culture where we educate the community by showcasing cultural diversity along with historically accurate performances through song and dance. Additionally, a meal will be served free of charge and children will have the opportunity to create arts and crafts that will expand their knowledge of Mexican culture and traditions,” said Ken Mendez, UMN Crookston Mailroom Supervisor. Mendez said there will be various hands-on learning through crafts that address folk traditions of Mexican culture. The event is made possibly with the help of a $7,000 Arts Legacy Grant from the Northwest Arts Council. 

On April 22, 2022, the University of Minnesota Crookston is hosting the event in honor of the beautiful history of Cinco de Mayo across multiple locations throughout the Minnesota Crookston campus. The event is free of charge and open to the public. “Spring has sprung, and UMN Crookston students, faculty, and staff encourage everyone to get a taste of the holiday spirit,” Mendez said.

This event is accessible for all with hope to develop a sense of community, belonging, and connection to higher education through a rich cultural experience. In part, the aim is to affirm the identity of Mexican and Latinx individuals and celebrate this heritage. Experiencing diversity through crafting, eating, and of course, dance will be a unique and educational experience for all participants, he said.

The first tier of the celebration will start at 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. featuring children arts & crafts activities in Bede Ballroom, located in the Sargeant Student Center. Crafts such as paper maché flowers, Dia de Los Muertos items, Caquitos, and Aztec calendars among others will be available to choose from. A free meal including a delicious authentic Mexican supper will take place in Brown Dining Room from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. featuring the most prized dishes that elegantly represent the colorful and flavorful dishes Mexico has to offer. 

There will be a dance performance by Los Alegres Bailadores Dance Troupe at 7:00 p.m. to conclude the evening in Kiehle Auditorium. “For over 30 years, they have delivered wonderful and authentic performances all around the state of Minnesota,” said Mendez. UMN Crookston has welcomed them to showcase their talents from 2009-2012 and have said they are more than thrilled for another great showing this April.

Mendez and the planning committee have said the rich heritage will shine through a  lively representation of dances performed by Los Alegres Bailadores, honoring the arts and traditions of Mexico.

For this event, UMN Crookston is inviting all community members to visit campus and increase a sense of community across racial, cultural, and socio-economic demographics. In doing this, the University of Minnesota Crookston helps foster a sense of belonging and connection to our wider community.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith