Students paraded down 8th avenue with flags, masks and decorated cars to celebrate a cultural tradition for the African and Latine diaspora.
Students paraded down 8th avenue with flags, masks and decorated cars to celebrate a cultural tradition for the African and Latine diaspora.
Brisa Zielina

Carnivale parade marches through the Grinnell streets

The Brazilian Student Association (BRASA), The Student Organization of Latines (SOL), African Caribbean Student Union (ACSU) and Latin American Student Organization (LASO) celebrated Carnival on Saturday, April 20 with food trucks, music and a lot of glitter. Despite the chilly weather, students stood in lengthy queues for authentic food and to watch all the student organizations involved in planning the parade down Eighth Ave.

“It was one event that the four [organizations] had individually come up with the idea for,” said Vrinda Varia, assistant chief diversity officer for Intercultural Student Life, who coordinated funding for the event from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“It’s been months in the works — I think since last year they’ve been trying to get this event going. And it’s finally come to fruition which is really cool,” added Nicole Rueda `27, a SOL member who helped plan the event. 

Monica Reyes `26 said she enjoyed the activities, which included mask making inside JRC 101. The festivities also included two food trucks serving free Caribbean food and Açai bowls. She added that she “especially liked” the decorated cars that had participated in the parade. 

Rueda, however, also acknowledged there had been challenges with getting logistics approved. A week before the event, the location was changed from Park Street to the Charles Benson Bear `39 Recreation and Athletic Center. Additionally, the initial starting time was pushed back an hour.

“We’ve had to pivot a couple times because of weather or location … but all the [organizations] really worked together to contribute towards the collective mission while also trying to separate each culture’s authentic experience, from music to food,” said Varia, calling the event “a really collaborative experience.”

Despite less than ideal temperatures, the weather failed to deter the evening festivities as Grinnellians gathered in and around the Joe Rosenfield `25 Center (JRC).
(Brisa Zielina)

“I rarely get to see the Venezuelan flag … and the Galak chocolate bars which I grew up eating in Venezuela. Seeing them really brought memories back to me,” Fabio Montilla `24 said. “I really love the energy of people getting ready for the parade, coming together and hanging out to enjoy a part of home.”

Reem Elamin `27, an ACSU member, said that the highlight of the event was the food trucks. “I think it was nice to have some options we don’t necessarily have on campus — especially some authentic food which was really nice,” she said. “I also like seeing other people’s cultures and how they celebrate and the different decorations that were there.”

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