In 2022, the Center for Economic Opportunity & Belonging at EDCUtah launched the Welcoming and Belonging Community Cohort in partnership with Welcoming America. As part of this initiative, we are interviewing members of the Welcoming and Belonging Community Cohort to talk about their progress, highlight success stories, and share best practices.
We spoke to Brooke Twitchell, event director for Cedar City, about the Spring Fiesta held in May 2022.
When I first got the job as the event coordinator for Cedar City, I was approached by a friend who happens to be Latina. This friend told me that she would like to see more diversity in city events. I took this feedback to heart and started to consider events that would be representative of the diverse community members living in Cedar City. This is when the idea for a Latino-centered event started to take shape.
The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) hosts a Day of the Dead celebration every autumn, so I decided to organize a spring event. The city hosts a spring Slow Roll bicycle event every May, and I approached the planning committee about incorporating a Cinco de Mayo component. The Slow Roll is a beloved community event, and I was nervous that there might be push back to adding anything new. However, the planning committee agreed and the Spring Fiesta was born.
I wanted to make sure that we were careful in our preparations, because I am not Latina myself. In order to make this event truly representative of Latino community members, I invited Latino community members to participate on the Spring Fiesta committee. This committee took the lead, and my team took on a supporting role in their efforts.
The event committee was very particular about the vendors and entertainment at the event because they wanted to highlight local Latino restaurants, foods, music, and dancers. In order to make this event accessible, vendors were only charged a small fee to help cover the costs of entertainment.
Cultural events help highlight communities in ways they want to be represented. Throughout all the planning, Latino community members were able to voice their ideas and lead the decision-making process.
The dedication during the planning process led to the event being more successful than we originally hoped. I had a target attendance goal of 600-700 people, as it was something very different for the city to hold, and 3,000 people showed up. It was truly heartwarming to see how people wanted to stay and dance even after the event had ended.
Cedar City will be hosting the Spring Fiesta again in May 2023. We welcome people to come out and help celebrate our Latino community members. You can stay up to date on events in Cedar City by visiting their website here.
CEOB Special Events Coordinatorbwymes@edcutah.org