The Omak branch of Wenatchee Valley College is preparing for its second annual MEChA May Festival.

The festival takes place in the early evening hours of May 17, a Friday. It looks to be a veritable bonanza of Mexican heritage and appreciation. Festivalgoers are in for live mariachi music ("A big highlight for us," says WVC diversity coordinator Edith Gomez), authentic street food, lovingly handmade trinkets and a folkloric dance troupe.

The dance troupe, called Folklórico Corazón de México, is all the more noteworthy because it consists solely of Wenatchee High School students. Pupils from Omak will also be on hand for the festival; Gomez isn't sure yet if the Omak kids are middle or high schoolers.

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"May Festival is hosted by student government and MEChA Club," says Gomez. "It's a partnership event. It's an event to show our culture."

"We also have community agencies come and share their resources," she adds. As for specific vendors, the complete list of vendors is still being finalized, says Gomez.

MEChA is shorthand for "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán," which translates roughly to "Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán." It was founded decades ago by student activists espousing the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience.

The Chicano and Mexican-American communities mobilized in large numbers in the 1960s. These communities experienced a groundswell of civil rights and antiwar activity.

With events like May Festival, participating students and faculty hope to renew the vision of the Chicano Movement, which has been conspicuously glossed over by many mainstream historians.

Funky but reverent, May Festival promises a smashing good time. For more information click here.

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