Viva MSU! kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month at Sunwatcher Plaza

Prizes, food, and a jalapeño eating contest officially start the “Esperanza: A celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope”

Viva MSU! on Sept15 kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with the coordination of MOSAIC at Sunwatcher Plaza with prizes, live music, free food and a jalapeño eating contest.

“A Hispanic Heritage Month shirt and blanket are going to be given away with the check-ins with your Mustang Link’s Event Pass,” Ruby Garrett, Mosaic Cross Cultural Center assistant director, said. “You can also buy the shirt during the week in MOSAIC’S office. There will be another prize at the jalapeño eating contest, so enjoy the Hispanic music and food so you can try to win.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from Sept. 15 to Oct 15 to recognize Hispanic culture and history, and to showcase some of what Hispanic people contribute to the community.

“Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at MSU makes me feel included with my heritage and helps other students who don’t know much about our true culture see that it’s not just stereotypes,” Aracely Escobedo, E-6 education and Spanish sophomore, said. “I liked the live music and different kinds of food and snacks they had in each booth.”

The live music was from Bidi Bidi Banda, a tribute band to Selena, that came from Austin. The band played from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and ended with event goers dancing cumbia.

“I recognized lots of songs from Selena and I thought it was fitting for the celebration of Hispanic heritage,” Nick Rodriguez, accounting assistant in Business Office, said. “There was lots of people at the event. A lot more people were dancing than I thought would. Everyone felt comfortable. It felt like a real ‘baile,’ but my favorite was the jalapeño eating contest.”

The jalapeño eating contest started in the middle of Sunwatcher Plaza with lots of people gathered around the contestants. Each contestant had five jalapeños on their plate, ready to devour. The first one to finish all five jalapeños was declared the winner. As soon as everyone agreed with a thumbs-up, the chowing began.

“I could hardly finish the first one. The texture of the jalapeño is what makes it difficult to finish fast, it’s not necessarily the spicy,” Jayden Johnson, art senior and Omega Delta Phi fraternity member, said. “I thought I had this in the bag, but at the end, I realized it’s a lot tougher to eat five jalapeños than I thought. I finished just two jalapeños and I was sweating.”

By the end of the contest with all five jalapeños gone, except for the stem, the first person raised their hand and was declared the winner.

“Hot, it was hot! [Its was easy] while the adrenaline was going, then after you were done that’s when it was burning. I wanted to win the TV is what my motivation was,” Chance Thompson, math freshman, said. “As soon as I finished, my hand went up, but my mouth was on fire. After, I went to the food truck to look for something cold to drink to stop the fire in my mouth.”

The food truck, Tacos y Tortas El Pelon, gave free tacos to the first 100 people. Other food options were “pan dulce” and “agua fresas,” the colorful sweet bread and typical cold drink made from different fruits. Other booths showed students different organizations the Hispanic community participate and help with, including Zavala Cultural Initiative, a Hispanic organization that aims to spread Hispanic culture and assists high school students to attend college.

The Wichita Falls Museum of Art, helped celebrate with Hispanic artist, Daniel Juárez and promoted students to join WFMA Teaching Artist, Auria Sánchez-Henríquez, on Sept 23 at 5:30 p.m. to make Alebrijes, the fantastical multi-color animals originally created by Mexican artist, Pedro Linares. Big Brothers & Sisters was there with information about the organization and ways to volunteer. The organization, Social Workers All Together, was spreading the word about the things they do in the community.

“We are a local organization bringing awareness to the community to try to help students get more involved to help struggling families and kids.” Mariela Portugal, social work senior, said.