King’s College kicks off annual Diversity Festival

WILKES-BARRE — Reyna Logsdon was getting ready for the seventh annual Diversity Festival’s Spanish Fiesta at King’s College on Wednesday, hanging a piñata from a balcony when it slipped and fell to the ground.

But the piñata didn’t break — perhaps a good omen as the fiesta began with a celebration of Latin American heritage.

The fiesta will also include free film screenings and a cultural game night during a series of events through September and October on the King’s campus.

On Wednesday, local vendors were on hand to sell authentic foods from Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador. The event featured a wide variety of music and an opportunity to learn how to salsa dance.

Logsdon, who works for the school’s Hispanic Outreach Program, said the fiesta is part of Hispanic Heritage Month and will feature screenings of the films “Underwater Dreams” on Sept. 19, and “Race” on Sept. 26 in the Burke Auditorium, William G. McGowan School of Business, North River Street.

“This event is important to educate the King’s community and the public about all the food, music and traditions of the Hispanic community,” Logsdon said. “We want to expose the culture to our students, 75 percent of which live on campus.”

Logsdon said many students, especially freshmen, aren’t aware of what is available in the Wilkes-Barre area. She said King’s is planning other festivals featuring various cultures.

“It’s good to have events like this to learn about each other,” Logsdon said. “It brings everyone together.”

Reyna Lucia Villafranca, 18, is a freshman majoring in secondary education/English at King’s. Villafranca graduated from Greater Nanticoke Area High School and her family is from Honduras.

“Events like this are very important for students to experience all cultures and traditions,” Villafranca said.

Joseph Giomboni of the King’s communications department said the documentary, “Underwater Dreams,” narrated by Michael Peña, chronicles the story of how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learn to build an underwater robot and defeat engineering powerhouse MIT in a robotics competition.

In the award-winning sports drama, “Race,” Stephan James portrays Olympic legend Jessie Owens as the young track and field star overcomes racism during the 1936 Olympics hosted in Nazi Germany.

Rafael Paramo and daughter Dafne Paramo salsa dance at Wednesday’s fiesta

Rita Espinoza serves a tostada at Wednesday’s fiesta to Margaret Kowalsky, the director of the King’s Study Abroad program.

Rafael Paramo and daughter Dafne Paramo salsa dance at the Diversity Festival’s Spanish Fiesta at King’s College on Wednesday.

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