Recently, Conway Scene had the pleasure of talking with Sandra Lopez of Paloma Community Services via an email chat. Paloma Community Services puts on the Hispanic Heritage Festival event, which is coming up on September 9th. We asked Sandra to answer some questions so we can get to know a little more about the event and their work in the community and highlight their upcoming event.
Conway Scene: Tell me a little about the community you represent?
Sandra: Paloma Community Services is a non-profit organization based in Conway, AR whose focus is to serve the Hispanic community. We do this through culture, guidance, and scholarships to students who are unable to receive any state or federal assistance. Composed of 11 board members, all volunteer their time and hard work to grow Paloma and assist the Hispanic community. Our biggest event, Hispanic Heritage Festival ft. El Grito, takes place annually on the second Saturday in September, and it has proven to be successful each year.
Conway Scene: Can you give some background on how the event started?
Sandra: In 2016 Las Delicias and FYI established their business in Conway, in 2017 they wanted to celebrate their 1-year anniversary, the owners decided to celebrate the Mexican independence as well, with the support of the Mexican Consulate and local businesses, it was celebrated in the parking lot; it was such a success that the following year was moved downtown and a non for profit was established: Paloma Community Services to fundraise for scholarships
Conway Scene: What acts for the festival stand out this year and why?
Sandra: Our biggest fundraising event is the Hispanic Heritage Festival ft. El Grito, which we celebrate in September. It is a day where the Hispanic community joins us at Laurel Park here in Conway, along with the Mexican and El Salvador Consulate, community Leaders such as Mayor Castleberry, Chief of Police etc., local businesses, food vendors, art vendors and we celebrate our heritage together. Every year we have the privilege of having CICA- Folkloric Ballet join us all the way from Chicago, Illinois and I would say that is the highlight of the night along with the Mariachi, of course!! The funds that we collect this day are used for scholarships that we award at our annual scholarships gala in the spring!
The event takes place on September 9th starting at 4 pm at Laurel Park.