We’re excited to share that the library will hold the second annual Oaxaca Festival on Sunday, August 20, from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Created and hosted by the library’s Latinas in Lambertville group, the event brings our whole community together to honor and celebrate the culture of our Oaxacan neighbors, featuring musicians, dancers, Oaxacan-inspired art and decor, food and drink, and arts and crafts activities.
Given the success of last year’s event, we have expanded programming— 2022’s inaugural Oaxaca Festival brought over 500 Lambertville residents and visitors to the library! Mayor Andrew Nowick, describes it this way: “I couldn’t be more delighted to see the Oaxaca festival return for a second year. For many of us, last year was a celebratory introduction to the wonderful, bright customs of our Hispanic community and this year promises another joyful event that will deepen our shared commitment to community. I wouldn’t miss it for anything and I hope to see you there!”
In that spirit, this year’s event will have even more musicians, including Philadelphia’s Mariachi Flores and New Brunswick’s Banda Clave de Oro, and dance troupes, including Danza de Jamiltepec and Piri y las Latinas de Lambertville. As a result of their beautiful performance of the pineapple dance at last year’s festival, our library inspired dance group was recently invited to perform at the 2023 New Brunswick’s twentieth-year celebration of the Guelaguetza, a traditional indigenous cultural event originating in Oaxaca.
We are fortunate to have world-renowned artists affiliated with this year’s festival. James Dupree spent nine months in Oaxaca’s Teotitlan del Valle, creating an innovative body of work titled Valley of the Gods, reflecting the region’s culture, people, and ecology. Some of these gorgeous works will be displayed in the library gallery from August 1-15, and additional works can be seen at his Lambertville gallery.
This year, we created a special tie-in event. On Saturday, August 19, at 5:00 pm, the Acme Screening Room will screen two short films featuring Oaxacan artists Dupree met in the region. The first, Alebrijes, Tonas and Nahuales. Artesanos of Oaxaca brings us into the world of Jacobo and Maria Ángeles, world-renowned sculpture artists known best for their fantastical folk art sculptures known as alebrijes. Along with several large-scale international installations and exhibitions, their workshop inspired Pixar’s film Coco. The second is Short Films on the Art of Natural Weaving, featuring Bulmaro Perez Mendoza and his family, who use traditional Oaxacan weaving methods to create rugs and tapestries designed with Zapotec and Mixtec patterns and symbols. With techniques steeped in cultural traditions of natural dyeing, Bulmaro’s work is collected and exhibited internationally.
Dupree will kick off the program with a presentation about his art and transformational journey in Oaxaca, and members of the Ángeles and Mendoza families will be in attendance to participate in a panel discussion. Mr. Dupree will then host a catered reception at his 10 North Union Street gallery where you can view Alebrijes by the Ángeles family as well as rugs, and tapestries by the Mendozas. Get tickets for the screenings, presentations, and reception on Acme’s site.
Let’s talk about food! A dozen women from the Latinas in Lambertville group, with support from local chefs Jean Michel Dumas (of the beloved, much-missed Manon) and Shelley Wiseman (of Shelley’s Table and formerly of the Farm Cooking School), and others will be working over three days to create over 1,000 tamales, aguas frescas, and tres leches for all to enjoy. Our event partner Fisherman’s Mark is donating all the ingredients and the kitchen space where the magic will take place.Additionally, our partners at the Elks Club will be serving hot dogs. Our other community-building partners include the Kalmia Club, Lambertville Life, and Soupçon Salon, who’s founder, artist Susan Dumas whose creating another enormous Alebrije piñata that was the center piece of last year’s festival. Also, a big thank you to the The City of Lambertville. We are so grateful to all of them for their support and collaboration.
The festival couldn’t exist without the incredible army of volunteers working to ensure the event is a smashing success–if you’d like to be one of them, reach out to Fran Bardusco at the library or at (609) 273-5974. And we also couldn’t do this without our community’s generous financial support. We had a very successful and super fun Latin dance party fundraiser at the Elks Club in June that got us most of the way toward our goal. At that event, over a hundred people came and danced to DJ Trina’s specially-curated Latin dance playlist and learned some new steps thanks to our friends at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in town. It was wonderful to see so many people come out to support the library and have such a good time doing it! But we still need some additional funds to cover the festival expenses. Please donate if you can.
Latinas en Lambertville
Latinas en Lambertville is attended steadily by a core group of 25-30 women, and their children also engaged in educational activities. The Oaxaca Festival is an extension of the program, so the group can apply the skills learned and grow together as a community.
The group began through a women’s empowerment workshop celebrated by The Institute of Museum and Libraries from DC, which visited us in April 2023 to learn more about our Hispanic programming. They had given us a modest grant and wanted to learn about how we accomplished so much with the Hispanic community, which is a challenge for libraries nationwide. Out of all the libraries in NJ, they chose three to visit; one was ours, a tremendous honor!
We were also presenters at the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Summer 2023 convention for “Latinas en Lambertville: How a small-town library created a space of belonging for its Hispanic Community.” Another huge honor and we packed the house.
You can read the presentation here.
Please join us for Oaxaca Festival 2023, we can’t wait to see you there!