07/21/04 — Raza Festival endorsed

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Raza Festival endorsed

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 21, 2004 2:01 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin commissioners voted Monday to endorse the upcoming Raza Festival in Warsaw.

Commissioners Chairman L.S. Guy said last year's festival held in Faison was a huge success without endorsement from the county. It had great support from the town of Faison.

"The food was outstanding," he said.

J.R. Peralta, a member of the committee planning the festival, asked commissioners to encourage county agencies to participate. Last year, 35 agencies manned booths explaining their services to the 600 people attending the festival in Faison.

At the end of the festival, Peralta said Elmer Schorzman, who was mayor of Warsaw at the time, invited the group to hold the festival in his town.

This year's festival will be from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, in the recreation park on Memorial Drive in Warsaw.

Peralta said the group hopes to have the festival in a different place each year, to share Raza with the entire county.

"Our goal this year is to reach out to 1,000 people," said Peralta, who is also president of the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina. The state group, established in 2001, is forming chapters all over the state.

Duplin's chapter, called Amexcan, formed last summer to promote active participation and integration of Mexicans in their communities.

The organization works to instill pride in the Mexican heritage among those of Latino descent who live in North Carolina, and it encourages understanding and appreciation for the Mexican culture. Peralta said 20 percent of the people who live in Duplin are of Latino descent.

He said the festival, called Raza meaning "race," celebrates all races and kicks off a month-long celebration in the Latino community. People from Mexico and Central and South America celebrate their independence during the same month.

The Duplin group also plans a sport tournament for Oct. 9 at Carolina Turkey Co. and a dinner and dance on Oct. 23 at the park in Rose Hill.