Traditional Hispanic tunes blared from a stereo as children played together and families gathered to celebrate the tradition which honors the visitation of three kings to the baby Jesus, known internationally as the epiphany, on Jan. 6. The event was organized by Angel Express, a nonprofit community support corporation.
“It’s more of a party day than Christmas,” said Janet Baltzer, director of Angel Express. “Christmas is more of a religious day when they go to church and it’s more of a serious day.”
Attendees were treated to the musical entertainment of Carlos Reyes, who sang several traditional tunes in Spanish while holding aloft a sparkling sombrero. Winnie the Pooh and Spongebob characters also made an appearance to dance with the children.
Dolores Aguilar Perez, 21, smiled broadly as she danced with Spongebob along with her sister Yodira Aguilar Perez, 15.
“We get to play with the kids,” said Dolores. “We get to dance with everyone.”
The event also serves as a celebration of Hispanic culture with traditional food, music and piñatas. Rome is home to Hispanic people from more than 15 countries, from Colombia to Puerto Rico.
“I like to celebrate their culture and make them feel like we feel their culture is beautiful and important,” said Baltzer.
Several local businesses and volunteers donated food and time to make the event possible. Panera and Kroger donated baked goods and bread while volunteers attended from the Junior Service League and Alpha Kappa Alpha.
For more information about Angel Express visit www.angelexpress.info.