World Fiesta celebrates Steamboat Springs’ diverse population |

World Fiesta celebrates Steamboat Springs’ diverse population

The 2015 World Fiesta, hosted by Integrated Community, was a festive and colorful event.
Courtesy Photo

If you go:

What: World Fiesta hosted by Integrated Community

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: $10 suggested donation

— African drummers. Mexican cuisine. Costa Rican couture. Add a dash of salsa — the dance, not the appetizer — and you’ve got the fourth annual Integrated Community’s World Fiesta.

From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, attendees can dance, drink and taste the flavors of the diverse cultures that call the Yampa Valley home.

“The mission of Integrated Community is to integrate all people,” said Millie Beall, Integrated Community treasurer and past president. “The fiesta is about just that — integration of friends and neighbors of all nationalities, eating, dancing and celebrating,”

Steamboat residents are more diverse than one might think, Beall said.

People from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, the Philippines, Costa Rica, West Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, China, Tibet and Vietnam, to name a few, are employees of Steamboat Ski Area, Yampa Valley Medical Center and local service industries. They rent and own homes, have children who are enrolled in local schools and contribute to the diversity Integrated Community celebrates each year with its fiesta, Beall said.

The World Fiesta will feature selections from Skull Creek Greek, the Cabin, Taco Cabo and the Smokehouse, as well as homemade treats, including Moroccan lamb and couscous and Mexican desserts.

For each $10 suggested donation, attendees will be registered in a grand-prize drawing for a Denver sports trip for two, donated by a local sponsor, which includes two nights at a downtown Denver hotel, two Avalanche tickets, two Nuggets tickets and a certificate of $150 for dinner and drinks.

Participants may buy as many $10 entries to increase their chances of winning.

Next week’s event — for the young and the young at heart — will feature music from DJ Geo Romero and a bouncy house with face painting.

Integrated Community Executive Director Sheila Henderson said proceeds from the World Fiesta will be used to enhance local human service agencies’ capacity to serve their immigrant constituency through language support and cultural training. She added that Integrated Community also extends “bilingual troubleshooting,” which includes advocacy, mediation, education and case-management services to immigrants and limited English-speaking people.

Beall said Integrated Community provides one-on-one services for more than 1,000 people. The office, located at 443 Oak St., staffs three and a half multi-lingual employees. It is open four days per week and sees an average of 10 people per day.

One of the more pressing issues facing immigrant families in Steamboat Springs, according to Beall, is the rising cost of preschool and the $600-a-year fee for full-day kindergarten. Beall said community donors have contacted Integrated Community wanting to pay the $600 kindergarten fee for a child in need.

“It’s just so exciting to be that bridge,” between the community and the school, Beall added.

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