Salsa Tasting Contest, Mexican food to highlight Cinco de Mayo Fiesta May 1

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Salsa Tasting Contest, Mexican food to highlight Cinco de Mayo Fiesta May 1

 Spanish Department Students preparing for Cinco de Mayo

Northwestern Oklahoma State University Spanish department students and sponsors prepare for their upcoming Cinco de Mayo Fiesta set for Thursday, May 1. A Salsa Tasting Contest will begin the event at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom with an authentic Mexican food meal to follow at 5 p.m. Pictured are (front, left to right) Tony Loustaunau, Cristina Carranza, Melissa Ashenfelter, Ellen Trotter, Gabriella Hernandez, (back, left to right) Dr. Claudia Young, Dr. Francisco Martinez and Kelsey Ingram.

A Cinco de Mayo Fiesta sponsored by the Spanish Department will take place in Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Student Center Ballroom in Alva Thursday, May 1, and is open to the public.

The event will kick off from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. with a Salsa Tasting Contest followed by an authentic Mexican food meal at 5 p.m. All proceeds from the evening’s events will go toward the Spanish Scholarship Fund.

Salsa contestants may register for the contest until 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 30. Those making salsa have been encouraged to prepare either mild or hot salsa, which will be judged on consistency, appropriate heat level and taste.

Dr. Claudia Young, assistant professor of Spanish, said Monday that more people have entered to make mild salsa, so she is encouraging additional hot salsa entries. Ten entries are being accepted in each category.

For the contest, salsa tasters can pay $1 to sample the salsa and vote for a People’s Choice Award. Prizes will be given to the first and second place winners in each category.

Salsa-making contestants must prepare their version of salsa prior to the start of the competition and must display a list of ingredients. The Student Center kitchen is available for preparation if needed.

Northwestern’s celebration is sponsored by members of the Peninsular Spanish/American Culture class, as well as members of the Spanish Club and Hispanic American Leadership Organization. Members from these organizations, along with the guidance of Alva community member Teresa Ramirez, will be preparing Mexican style ground meat tacos for the meal that takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Local Mexican food restaurant El Maya also is donating side items and chips for the fundraiser. Tickets for the meal are $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.

Students involved include Melissa Ashenfelter, Fredonia, Kan., junior; Rebecca Black, Claremore freshman; Cristina Carranza, Enid senior; Gabriella Hernandez, Fort Worth, Texas, senior; Kelsey Ingram, Holdenville senior; Tony Loustaunau, Perryton, Texas, sophomore; José Luis Martinez, Woodward senior; Ana Parra, Barnias, Venezuela, freshman; Luis Plascencia, Chicago, Ill., freshman; Ivelin Stoychev, Zlatitsa, Bulgaria, graduate student; and Ellen Trotter, Norman junior.

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates the defeat of the French by Mexico at the Battle of Puebla. Mexican troops won the fight on May 5, 1862.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact sponsors Dr. Francisco Martinez, associate professor of Spanish, at (580) 327-8566 or, or Young at (580) 327-8464 or