Multicultural Festival Brings Color to Chautauqua


Hunter Vasey, Staff

On September 11 in Storm Lake, there was a celebration of uniqueness and community that spanned generations. Children, adults, and seniors came together for the Storm Lake Multicultural Festival in Chautauqua Park.   

But how did a celebration like this come to pass? Breanna Horsey, Director of Storm Lake United said, “Storm Lake United wanted a big event to promote community engagement and celebrate diversity.” The festival was an attempt to represent the myriad of different cultures present in Storm Lake, the most ethnically diverse small town in the state.  

Organizers couldn’t have chosen a better day to hold the festival, it was sunny, warm, and drew a great crowd. The playground was full of kids playing and laughing, and none of the attractions were without a line.

The festival included several local food vendors serving Chicago-style food, authentic Mexican cuisine, and even Boba Tea. There were also booths representing local businesses and organizations, like RAICES from BVU.  

Alondra Melendez, the president of RAICES talked about the group’s choice to take part in the festival, “Storm Lake United invited us to this event because they thought it would be a great opportunity for a student organization to get their name out there.” RAICES has held several cultural celebrations in the past like their day of the dead celebration, and Fiesta Latina. 

 Several local small businesses also used the festival as an opportunity for promotion. Erica Ramos, the owner of The Keeks Club, had just recently launched her small business. She jumped at the opportunity to take part in the festival, “I’m trying to put myself out there, I’m barely starting. I started out selling to family and friends, but this is a great way to let people know that, hey I’m here.”  

One of the most popular parts of the festival, however, was a new addition to Chautauqua Park: the mini-pitch soccer complex. Available to all of the community, the mini-pitch was created to encourage amateurs and pros alike to practice their soccer skills for free in their very own community. Who better to promote the unveiling than BVU’s own soccer team? They kicked off the festival by playing an exhibition game with some local high schoolers and giving out brand-new soccer balls to kids.  

After the game, BVU men’s soccer players held a workshop to demonstrate techniques and connect even more with the community.

Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach, Kelsey Resnick said, “We’ve been a small part of this project since its inception to introduce it to the community and now that it’s become a reality, we couldn’t be happier to come out and be a part of it.”

These were only a few of the activities available at the festival, there were three pinatas broken open throughout the festival, a mosaic created by visiting Mexican artists, and even a performance of some of Selena’s music. 

The festival brought together people from all parts of the community, breaking down barriers and bridging cultural gaps. Although this was the first iteration of the festival, it’s sure to become an annual tradition beloved by the community for years to come.