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Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011

It’s Memorial Day weekend. You’ve barbecued with your family, hung out with your friends and thanked those who have sacrificed their lives to keep this country safe. Have you checked off everything on your checklist? Take another look because you have just looked over one of the biggest things happening in Mid-Michigan this weekend. The 30th annual Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011!

The Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011 is a annual festival for the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing. It is a festival to celebrate and show the community the Latin culture of this church.

“This is a family oriented event,” said Veronica Madrid, secretary of Cristo Rey Church. “We are very proud because it has been such a success and it is growing. Most festivals start and stop because they haven’t been good. But we have been blessed, it just gets better and better every year.”

There are four big parts of this festival. First there is the food vendors.

“All of our food, except for the pizza, is prepared fresh in the church kitchen,” said Madrid. They make and sell a wide array of items such as tacos, gorditas, pan dulce (sweet bread), pinto beans and rice, and even pizza for the kids.

The second part of the festival is the mercado or the shopping area. They sell rosaries, traditional Mexican clothings, purses and other trinkets.

The third part of the festival is the music and performance. They have performances from the Tejano Sound Band to a dj playing the latest Latino music for the younger generation. The fiesta also features young children performing traditional dances from Mexico.

The fourth and final aspect to this festival is that there are things for children to do.

“Children are fenced in and they can just play with there friends or new people they meet in the community, ” said Madrid. “It is very safe.” There a huge blow-up slide and bounce house for the kids. Also, inside of the mercado, there is a place where they can get their face painted. Exciting right?

This fiesta isn’t just about 30 years of the festival, it is also about 50 years of the parish!

“It is a combined fiesta,” said Madrid. The anniversary of the Parish opening is on November 20th. We will have a celebration for the church at the time too. But we wanted something now to commemorate 50 years of blessings and we thought that it would be great to combine the two.

Members of the church are very active in the fiesta and are apart of committees that make this event so great.

“My family has been apart of this for years,” said Diana Delgado of Lansing. “My daughters have performed on stage and I look forward to this every year. Volunteering is a way to participate and give back to a church that has done so much for me.”

“This is such a vibrant Christian community,” said  Arnold Hennig of Lansing. “This is a great weekend for the church. I’m glad to be apart of it.”

With all the food and entertainment, Madrid said that there is a bigger thing about the festival that makes it wonderful. “This festival is about showing our culture and our church, but I believe that the biggest and best thing about our festival is that it is so diverse,” said Madrid. “There are many races under our tent. Latinos, Chicanos, Caucasians, African-Americans, everyone. That is a beautiful scene.”

This event also has sponsors from the community, including PNC bank, Sam’s Club, UAW and the Lansing Police Department. These sponsors help make the fiesta successful. “This fiesta is one of the biggest source of income,” said Madrid. “It helps us keep doing the annual festival, help the church pay our bills and allows us to do things for the community.”

So you have food, family-orientated, shopping, performances and music all under one tent? That sounds like a blast! If you think so too, Sunday is the last day to go to the fiesta. It’s starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Make your way to the Cristo Rey Fiesta 2011 and party the night away!

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East Lansing Kicks Off the Summer With the Art Festival

The East Lansing Art Festival was a kick off to the summer with a variety of food, art and music on Saturday.

This is the 48th year of the family-friendly event. “In the last 2 years, attendance has increased, and it has become a tradition in families within the community,” said Corinn VanWyck, the Arts Program Coordinator for the festival.

“This festival makes the arts accessible for the public to view. The art showcased is top notch. And this gives the participants the opportunity to meet the artist for a more in-depth look of what they created. This is overall a great event. There is something for everyone.”

On the Jackson and Main music stages, there starred bands from a multitude of genres.

Shelia Landis, vocalist for Shelia Landis and the Brazilian Love Affair, is a part of a band that focuses on Brazilian jazz, samba, and American jazz. She said that there is a focus when mixed them together and it brings a certain kind of flavor to the stage.

“I am glad to make music for those who will enjoy it,” said Landis. “There is a fair amount of interest in jazz in the area. I hope that the audience will love our music and buy our CDs.”

Another group that performed was The Tia Imani Hanna Project. Tia Imani Hanna is a vocalist and violinist for the group. Hanna said that she is excited to have the opportunity to perform in East Lansing.

“I hope that the audience was moved by my performance considering the improv involved,” said Hanna. “There is also a cross-cultural fusion in the jazz that is played. I hoped that it got in touch with the audience’s muse.”

There were hundreds of artist from Michigan and around the country that came to exhibit their arts and crafts.  These included ceramic, sculpture, glass, prints, woods and many others.

Ann Hupke, of northwest Illinois, has a specialty in 2D Mixed Media.

“I love it here,” she said. “East Lansing is a great place to showcase my art. Everything has been going well so far. I hope everyone appreciates what they see.”

Todd Richter, of Ann Arbor, showcased his metal art work. In some of his pieces, the subject matter was music.

“I am in a band,” he said. “I play guitar and I really like it. Since I have been particularly interested in music for some time, I started to put that into my art work.”

The festival isn’t just good for the attendees and the artist. It is also good for the city.

“It is really a strong driver of the local economy,” said VanWyck. “People that come to the festival shop, eat and get to know the area. East Lansing, itself, becomes a great showcase. It shows what the city has to offer.”

If you missed it on Saturday, don’t fret! The East Lansing Art Festival will being going on until Sunday, May 22 starting at 10 a.m. until 5p.m. So, come down to the festival and enjoy yourself!