Yesterday, I attended the 2nd annual Calle Cultura event, which was hosted by Intercambio Denver. The flyers for this event mentioned a salsa tasting competition, games, and a raffle. I invited all of my facebook friends to the event and had some new business cards printed up so that I would be ready to hand them out to anyone who might be interested in Spanish tutoring.
On my way to the event, I was feeling a little nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. The nerves didn’t get any better as I arrived at Barnum Park, which was supposed to be the location of the event. I didn’t see any signs of tents, salsa tasting or any type of gathering. I remembered seeing on the map that there are several sections of Barnum Park and I realized that I was at the wrong one. My friend Zac was having the same problem and we found each other in the parking lot of the wrong park. He had no clue where to go so I set out to lead us to our destination. After 10 more minutes of driving on back streets and making U-turns in the part of Federal that is under construction, I was relieved to finally find the Calle Cultura street fair.
Zac and I walked up to the registration table and gave a donation to Intercambio Denver. Then we received 3 tickets to vote on our favorite salsas in the tasting competition and a raffle ticket for door prizes. I immediately went to the salsa section to begin tasting. I do love hot, spicy food, so I wasn’t worried about any of the salsas being too picante. However, by the time my friend Matthew arrived, I was feeling embarrassed to greet him because my eyes were watering and my nose was running after trying the hottest salsa in the competition. The hot salsa tasted delicious and I ended up voting for it despite the water works that it caused. I also got to try a few different green salsas and some guacamole. Yum!
In between tasting salsa and crying because of the heat, I chatted with friends and met some of the volunteer English teachers who work for Intercambio. The organizers stopped the party to do a raffle drawing and I won a stainless steel water bottle with the Intercambio logo! I felt like my luck was finally changing!
Then, I participated in a language exchange event that was organized by Speakeasy Spanglish. The idea was for one native Spanish speaker and one native English speaker to sit on each side of a table. First, both of them would speak Spanish for 5 minutes and then both of them would speak English for 5 minutes. There weren’t enough native Spanish speakers who wanted to participate, so I ended up filling the Spanish-speaking role. I got a little nervous being on the Spanish-speaking side of things, even though it was just a casual event. I felt like I was tripping over a few easy phrases and I couldn’t remember the Spanish word for “courage”…it’s coraje, which is almost the same as the English word! At least I’ll never forget that one again.
To wrap up the afternoon, the organizers announced the winners of the salsa competition. The hot salsa that made me cry won in the “Red Salsa” category. I found out that Tarasco’s, a restaurant on Federal that serves Latin food, had made that salsa. I’m going to have to stop by there the next time that I’m in the mood to eat salsa that clears out my sinuses.
Overall, the Calle Cultura street fair was a fun event. Despite getting lost, feeling nervous, forgetting my Spanish vocabulary and the spicy salsa fiasco, I managed to meet some new people, win a prize and enjoy my afternoon at the park.