Day Trip: Pinatafest celebrates party tradition

Compiled by Mike Jimenez: Freedom Newspapers

Roswell is home to the Coyotes of Roswell High, the Rockets of Goddard High and UFO fanatics. It’s also home to the annual “Pinatafest.” The festival is set to be held Friday through Sept. 11. The event is sponsored by the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Roswell Parks and Recreation.

What Is It?
Pinatafest celebrates the Pinata. This is a common fixture at many Hispanic and Mexican birthday parties. The origin of Pinatas may have begun with the Chinese as Marco Polo is said to have discovered them creating these in the images of livestock, filling them with seeds and breaking them open at the beginning of the New Year.

Spanish missionaries used the pinata to attract the indigenous peoples in order to convert them to Christianity. These Aztec people already had a similar tradition in place and the missionaries combined both for religious instruction.

Today, pinatas can be found in a variety of locations. Normally there are small vendors who specialize in products from Mexico in most communities, and these stores usually have a large supply on hand. Sizes and shapes are as varied as the imagination of the creator. The variety of characters is only limited to the skill of the artist who produces them.

The pinata is usually suspended from a tree limb, or other place where it can be tied to a rope, and pulled up and down as the blindfolded participant tries their best to strike it with a bat, or other long stick. The pinata has been previously filled with candy and other goodies, and once broken by the force of the stick, spills the contents onto the ground where the remaining children swarm over the remains to gather as many as possible.

Where Is It?
Roswell is approximately 90 miles to the West on Highway 70, and the driving time is approximately 90 minutes. It would be wise to allow for 3 hours to accomplish the round trip to Roswell. Highway 70 comes into Roswell from the North, and is accessed via an off ramp that will bring you in on Highway 285 heading South. This will become Main street and will provide for easy access to the Pinatafest. Pinatafest is once again being held at the Chaves County Courthouse lawn, and also at Pioneer Plaza, which is located across the street from the courthouse.

Things to do:
Pinatafest kicks off unofficially on Thursday evening at Pepper’s Bar and Grill with a gathering called a “Tardeada.” This is a gathering of Hispano Chamber members and other business men and women and a great place to network and establish contacts. Vendors and entertainment begin on Friday evening at 5 p.m.

The weekend’s events feature performances by Mexican Folk dance groups such as Roswell Folklorico, and a performance by Las Florecitas. Entertainment will be provided on and off throughout the day and evening hours.

There will be vendors selling different types of food and specialty items on the lawn and plaza. On Sunday, a Mariachi mass will be performed by a local group known as “Soy Mariachi” at 10 a.m.

Information
Contact the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce at 888-616-0889 or go to their Web site at www.roswellhcc.com