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2nd annual Immigration Fiesta bridges cultural divides

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Jonathan Fortier | WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The second annual JONAH Immigration Fiesta at River Prairie Park in Altoona aimed at bringing the Latino community in the Chippewa Valley closer together with everyone on Sunday.

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Mireya Sigala said this is very exciting to see as a member of the Latino community.

"This is actually really special because I was born and raised in Wisconsin and this is not something that I would have ever imagined that we'd be able to see," Sigala said.

Altoona Mayor, Brendan Pratt, said the event is very special to the city of Altoona and that he hopes to see it continue to grow.

"This is a super opportunity for us and the whole community to bring everyone together," Pratt said. "We hope this is going to be a yearly event now."

The event is celebrating the Latino community and organizers say the goal is to get everyone to meet someone new by the end of the night.

The event also aims to help the Latino community connect with local law enforcement in a positive way.

"The goal is to get them to interact with the police department and to know that the police department is here for equal service whether they're here legally or not here legally," said Altoona Chief of Police, Kelly Bakken.

The event featured games for all ages, food trucks, immigration tips and lots of dancing.

Altoona city administrator Mike Golat, says the event helps bring understanding between cultures in the community.

"The Latino community in particular, I think they stick with each other, so tonight the idea is that we get to know each other," Golat said.

Sigala says the cultural diversity has grown drastically in the Chippewa Valley, especially in the Latino community.

"It is really interesting to have been here when Latinos were a really small number and to see the explosion and to see that this community has really accepted them," she said.

The general mood at the event was the sense of community and togetherness.

Most of the people there were having a good time and are excited to have the event next year.

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