Sweet and savory flavor second Fiesta Celebration


Holding still was an art for many youngsters who took advantage of the face painting booth at the Fiesta Celebration, last weekend at the fairgrounds.

Two days of sunshine, lots of color, good food and music were the ingredients for the second annual Fiesta Celebration Saturday and Sunday at the Hood River County Fairgrounds.

This year the event boasted more musical acts, a soccer tournament, carnival rides and a car show, building on the success of last year’s celebration.

No attendance numbers were available, but organizer David Kirkwood of the sponsoring Pine Grove/Odell United Methodist Church was pleased with the response.

“It was busy all weekend, and then we had a huge crowd Saturday night, and again Sunday about two hours before closing,” he said. “We had a great turnout.”

The church organized the weekend as a way for Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike to experience the cultural tradition of Mexican Independence Day, celebrated in Mexico on Sept. 16.

Martin Acala, deputy consul at Portland’s Mexican Consulate, came Saturday to elaborate on the celebration and the significance of that date in Mexican history.

Musical acts and folk dancers performed both days to a good crowd. Three bands — Los Diamantes, Los Temerosos, and La Fantasia — took turns entertaining over the weekend, and local talent took the stage as well.

Young standout Brittany Harris wowed the listeners with her vocal range and strong voice when she performed on Sunday, as she had also done at the county fair’s talent show.

Adding color and liveliness to the stage were the members of Hood River and Odell Ballet Folkloricos groups, who performed regional folk dances both days.

Filling the air along with the music was the savory aroma of carnitas and sweet wafts of cinnamon-sugared bunuelos (deep-fried flour tortillas). Other food booths offered tacos, tamales, fruit cups or snack foods.

Volunteers from the Pine Grove/Odell United Methodist Church worked several booths, including one for face painting. The artists in this popular canopy had a constant stream of faces to keep them busy.

Children who weren’t lined up at the face-painting booth or watching the serious business of having color applied to others’ faces were chasing around showing off their decorated cheeks and noses; some dragging around as a trophy the remnants of one of the many pinatas broken over the weekend.

Teachers and staff from Mid Valley Elementary School handled the pinata games, overseeing the gleeful destruction of 16 pinatas before the event was over.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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