For the first time, Pacific Union College’s annual Spring Fest found a new home this year: the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. As a collaboration with the Napa Valley Cinco de Mayo festival, the May 4 event came as a result of careful planning on the part of student activities director Juliana Dalotto and the 14 clubs that took part in the festivities.
Spring Fest has traditionally been held in the PUC gymnasium, but when the Cinco de Mayo festival was reported to be happening the same day, the organizers decided that this would be a great opportunity not only to give PUC some visibility within the Valley but also a great way to get connected with the local communities. Dalotto stated, “I always thought it would be wonderful if PUC could play a bigger role in the community at large. This was a perfect venue to set that precedent because the committee members were very supportive about helping PUC get involved and they helped me make it happen.”
The day began with a Cinco de Mayo parade that ran down Calistoga’s main street. In the midst of the rancheros on horseback, the cultural dancers and the sounds of Latin music playing from the speakers was PUC’s Student Organization of Latinos (SOL club) marching along, carrying the flags of the Latin American countries and representing the school with pride.
The parade ended at the fairgrounds, where a plethora of dining and entertainment options awaited attendees. The Dramatic Arts Society, Polynesian, Business and Filipino Clubs, Amnesty International and World Missions were just a few of the booths to represent PUC at the festival. PUC student Blake Penland worked at the Social Work Forum booth selling cotton candy and said, “I loved all the different kinds of food that each booth had; I even learned a little Spanish as well.” The non-alcoholic event was a celebration enjoyed by all ages and included a Mariachi band, a Ferris wheel, a taco truck and a laundry list of games.
Dalotto said, “I think a lot of the clubs saw it as a good opportunity to “get out there,” and I think many of the clubs will want to participate next year with this year’s experience under their belt.” The experiment of combining the school’s event with the Cinco de Mayo festival proved to be a success for both parties.