The first ¡Viva Tualatin! event was held Sept. 14 at Tualatin Community Park brought a vibrant mix of food, arts and dance. Viva Tualatin! was a perfect mix of arts, similar to ArtSplash, and culture.
Baked goods, tacos, piña coladas, face painting, bull riding, alebrijes (Mexican folk art sculptures of mythical creatures), and ink caricatures filled the circle of tents around the park.
Elyse Burton, Community Engagement Intern, sat in awe of Carmen Madrid as she carefully swirled the henna on her hand. Madrid is a henna artist and a resident of Tualatin for over two decades. Madrid commented on the need for diversity at the city’s events. “There is a lot going on in Portland, but the suburbs feel like they’re separated,” Madrid said.
Community Engagement Coordinator, Betsy Rodriguez Ruef, worked to integrate cultures into this event. Her work as a part of the Tualatin Diversity Task Force has led her to have an influential role in the city. “I’ve heard so much from people saying they’ve lived here for 20 years and never seen anything like this. We care and we want to do things differently in order to get those different voices at the table,” Ruef said.
Ruef connected with Carmen Castro through the Diversity Task Force. Castro is AAA Oregon/Idaho’s Latino Initiative Program leader. AAA participated as one of the vendors and happily agreed to be one of the first sponsors of ¡Viva Tualatin!. “When Betsy said they were going to be doing this, I wanted to support [it]. In my capacity as outreach and community engagement for the Latino community, I’m excited to connect more with the people in the community and have a lot of people show up,” Castro said.
¡Viva Tualatin! was a successful event welcoming hundreds of people and over 50 vendors. It’s the first event of its kind to uniquely incorporate art and culture in Tualatin and will hopefully continue on as a tradition in the future.