On Sunday, July 29th, Hudson River HealthCare and El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie will host the Fourth Annual Guelaguetza Festival, celebrating the traditions, culture and flavors of Mexico. The festival, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 2pm – 8pm at Waryas Park, at the foot of Main Street, in Poughkeepsie.
Poughkeepsie’s Guelaguetza Festival will feature Mexican folk dance performances, traditional and popular music, Mexican and American food, and children’s activities. Performances will feature a lineup of dance and musical acts from throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond, including dance performances by El Grupo Folklorico of Poughkeepsie, Mid-Hudson Mexican folkloric group Grupo de Danza Tusimapan, and Grupo de Mujeres del Ecuador. Music will be provided by Sonido Mausser and Banda Scalaband. Local nonprofit organizations will be on hand to share information with the community. The event will also feature the exhibition “La Lavanderia,” a cross-cultural photography show featuring photographs by local photographers. This popular exhibit has been shown in Poughkeepsie and Peekskill, and has been expanded for 2012.
“The most important part of the festival is the sharing traditions across cultures,” said Felipe Santos, event organizer and director of El Grupo Folklorico Poughkeepsie.
“That’s what the word ‘guelaguetza’ means. This event 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 that takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico that has been celebrated for hundreds of years. The word Guelaguetza is from the Zapotec language and translates loosely to “mutual offering.” The essence of the celebration is the practice of individuals and groups working together for the betterment of the community. As one community shares its traditions and appeals for a bountiful harvest, the others are expected to do the same, setting up a system of reciprocity that benefits all. The Guelaguetza celebration in Mexico traditionally takes place on the last two Mondays in July, and is based on pre-colonial traditions used to bring forth rain and an abundant harvest season. During the event, communities from throughout the state of Oaxaca gather to present their regional culture in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food.
The event is sponsored by Hudson River HealthCare and Somos La Llave del Futuro. Hudson River HealthCare is a federally-qualified network of 16 community health centers throughout the Hudson Valley and the north fork of Long Island. The mission of Hudson River HealthCare is to increase access to comprehensive primary and preventive health care and to improve the health status of our community, especially for the underserved and vulnerable. Somos La Llave del Futuro is a nonprofit organization working to build leadership in immigrant communities.