2020 Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival goes virtual

Elizabeth Ulloa, left, serves a handmade tortilla to Lara Ambusa during the LatinX & Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival, held at College of the Canyons in Valencia on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. The 2020 event, which runs Oct. 12-15, will take place via Zoom. Dan Watson/The Signal

Since pandemic restrictions prohibit in-person gatherings, a number of College of the Canyons departments collaborated to organize and host the virtual 2020 Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Starting Monday and running through Thursday, the weeklong virtual celebration features 16 sessions with students and faculty leading poetry readings, Spanish literary readings, panel discussions and language lessons. Also planned are a film screening, musical performance and cooking demonstrations.

“This is the first time the event will be offered digitally through Zoom,” said Claudia Acosta, chair of COC’s Modern Languages Department.  “Given our current situation, we felt it was important to move forward with the festival and invite the campus and wider community to participate and celebrate. Our students and presenters are thrilled to be able to connect with others.”

A screening of “Tales of Masked Men,” the critically acclaimed exploration of the colorful, fascinating and mysterious world of lucha libre (Mexican wrestling), is scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday. Acosta will lead a virtual discussion with Carlos Avila, the film’s writer, producer and director, after the screening.

Vento Sur will take listeners on a Latin American musical journey during their 6 p.m. performance scheduled Wednesday. The California Institute of the Arts alumni group João Junqueira, Alex Bozman, Julissa Bozman and Jay Gravatt features strings, percussion and vocals of Pan Latin American songs.

Chefs Cindy Schwanke and Daniel Otto from the COC Institute for Culinary Education (iCuE) will explore Latin flavors during their cooking demonstration, scheduled 4 p.m. Thursday.  

Also on Thursday, a 3 p.m. presentation by board members from the Santa Clarita Sister Cities program will highlight Tena, Santa Clarita’s Sister City in Ecuador famous for its rivers and surrounding rain forest.

The festival is open to the public and organizers invite the community to participate via Zoom. A complete schedule of events and log-in details can be found on the COC website, canyons.edu.

The 2020 Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Cultural Festival is hosted by the college’s Department of Modern Languages & Cultures and the School of Humanities in collaboration with the Institute for Culinary Education (iCuE), the Associated Student Government, Sigma Delta Mu, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

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