Sep 15th, 2003 @ 1:49 pm | Author: Ellen-Earle Chaffee
Q: How many people does it take to have a Fiesta?

A: ALL of them!

Q: How many people will love the Fiesta?

A: ALL of them!

Fiesta Mexicana is an extraordinary event that has the potential to become Valley City’s answer to Minot’s Hostfest. This third Fiesta is a terrific example of how much the university and community can accomplish together. There is no way either could have the event without the other.

Fiesta will take place primarily at the City Auditorium on September 25-27. A special dinner with the most rousing entertainment you have ever seen will take place at the Eagles that Thursday night, September 25. Do not miss it! Fiesta only takes place in alternate years. Last time, I asked some local folks in the dining hall on Saturday if they had just arrived. "Oh, no," one said. "We’ve come here every day!" Another added: "And twice on Friday."

This year, Fiesta will bring to Valley City a number of musicians, dancers, and crafts people from two states in Mexico " Baja California Sur and Oaxaca (wah " HAH " ca). Altogether, there could be nearly 70 people from Mexico here that week. You will enjoy the sounds, the sights, and the tastes of the event, and you will find some wonderful gift items for yourself and others.

We expect several thousand visitors to Valley City in those few days. I am among those who love the fact that Fiesta often draws many people of Mexican heritage who live in the region. Many hundreds of school children will be here from throughout the state on Thursday and Friday, too.

Top officials and professors from universities in three Mexican states will also be present. We will be talking with them about sister-university arrangements to share courses, expertise, and ideas. We will have a live interactive video conference with the education specialist at the U.S. Consulate in Mexico City, too, to discuss effective student exchange options.

Four senior leaders from Sun Microsystems, our newest corporate partner, will also be on hand. They will help all of the university personnel develop visions of how we can bridge borders with technology to enrich education in both places. We have already discovered, for example, that our new interactive video system will allow us to invite a Mexican professor to tell us about his or her expertise almost as if we were in the same room. We can even add other North Dakota college campuses into the exchange like a conference call with video.

As I said, it takes all of us to make the event possible. The founder is Kay Kringlie, VCSU Spanish professor, with strong support from her academic division. Another key element is the Valley City Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a number of their board members who invest hundreds of hours and dollars. Thanks, too, to the many community people who are hosting the Mexican high school students in their homes. Our own Congressman Earl Pomeroy has been instrumental in securing our visitors’ visas, and he will help us host the university delegations.

Gracias! See you at Fiesta!

President Chaffee writes a column that is published in the Valley City Times Record every Tuesday of the month. The above article will run int he Tuesday, September 16th edition.