The Lee Community Center in Morris was filled with color, music, laughter, fun and food on Saturday, June 25. The 3rd annual Conexiones Day festival was organized by Conexiones, a nonprofit organization that works to connect immigrants with the community. Conexiones Day has become a huge event with an estimated 300-400 attending this year. It is an event that is geared towards everyone and is a way to celebrate our vibrant community.
The evening began with a beautiful folkloric dance performance from Raices de mi Tierra. The group helps preserve Mexico’s traditions through dance. They performed dances from 4 different Mexican states, each state being represented by a unique traditional outfit. In one dance from the state of Baja California, children danced around dressed as cowboys. Representing the state of Jalisco, 5 women dressed in colorful, flowing dresses performed to the sound of mariachi music. To wrap up the show, the group performed the “Chileno Dance” where masked dancers came out into the audience and invited others to join them as they danced to the upbeat music.
Following the dance performance, the festival offered many opportunities for families to join in the fun. Kids were especially excited for the balloon twisting and face painting. A new activity this year was the 4-H Farm Animal Alley, where families had the opportunity to visit several species of farm animals on exhibit in the horse barn. Families could also stop by the craft vendor booths to purchase local handmade items or head outside to the food court for a delicious meal.
One of the most exciting activities of the night was the 2nd Annual Taco Eating Contest. Each of the 11 contestants had 10 minutes to eat as many soft shell tacos as possible. The competition was tough and came down to the very last minute, but Leonardo Suarez won by finishing a whopping total of 8.5 tacos. After the contest, the event wound down with the crowd dancing to live music and spending time with friends and neighbors.