The Ozarks is home to a vibrant, multi-ethnic community. With Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) just around the corner, what better time to recognize Greene County's growing Hispanic population? Many Ozarkers have heard of Cinco de Mayo but may not have a clear idea of what the holiday represents. It is often misinterpreted as Mexico's Independence Day. While it's true that the day does mark a historic victory for Mexico over France, Cinco de Mayo is not a nationally recognized holiday in Mexico. (As a side note: Mexican Independence Day actually falls on September 16th. This is why Hispanic Heritage Month starts in mid-September.) Regardless, Cinco de Mayo has quickly become a day for people of Hispanic descent to celebrate their rich cultural history.
Are you looking for a place to celebrate? Arts Fiesta!, a Cinco de Mayo celebration with Springfield's sister city of Tlaquepaque, Mexico, is the event for you! You can listen to Mariachi Femenil Nuevo Tecalitlan, an all female Mariachi band from Tlaquepaque, while enjoying authentic Mexican food in Founder's Park. The festivities start at 6 p.m. UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the recent swine flu outbreak in Mexico, the Mariachi band from Tlaquepaque is unable to attend. For this reason ArtsFiesta! has been canceled for 2009.
In Springfield you'll also find area organizations that are eager to answer questions about our Hispanic community and to offer support. Grupo Latinoamericano is a nonprofit organization that has served Southwest Missouri since 1989. They offer various services, including educating new community members about available resources and recording the "richness and variety" of Hispanic culture. Hand in Hand Ministries supports ethnic minority families in Southwest Missouri through various services and programs. They maintain the comprehensive Guia Hispana, a Spanish-language guide providing information about community resources.
You can always locate these nonprofit organizations in The Directory, a catalog of nonprofit organizations that is maintained by the Library.
Are you a native Spanish speaker or are you looking to brush up on your Spanish language skills? The Library has special collections of Spanish language materials, including novels as well as self-help nonfiction titles. You'll find most of these materials at the Library Station and at the Midtown Branches. Go by and visit or give them a call to learn more.
Share the celebration of Cinco de Mayo with your little ones! The Library carries several books on the subject:
If you have any questions, be sure to let us know. We're here to help!