01/06/08 — Festival-goers share fun to mark holiday

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Festival-goers share fun to mark holiday

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 6, 2008 2:04 AM

Ashley Acevedo was wide-eyed and all smiles as she watched children line up to swing at a pinata.

She wasn't the only one excited to see candy rain from the papier-mache watermelon.

But the 3-year-old girl was as happy as a child on Christmas.

To her and her twin brother, Arturo, the day was much like the 25th of December -- filled with games, candy and presents.

For their mother, Olivia, it was a day to celebrate the family's Hispanic heritage.

But she and her children, including 18-month-old Christopher, weren't the only Acevedos there to join in the celebration of the Three Kings Day Festival held at the Waynesborough Historic Village Saturday afternoon.

Her sisters Cristina Acevedo and Delia Trejo were there, too, and they brought their children, Omar, 10, and Janelle, 6, Acevedo and Daniela, 10, and Lisbet, 4, Resendiz, to enjoy the festivities.

The festival is not something that the family attends every year.

In fact, this year was their first.

For others, it is a traditional part of their new year.

More than 100 people came out to celebrate the day the three kings came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh to Mary, Joseph and their newborn son in a manger thousands of years ago.

So, just like the last three years, Wayne County's own Mary and Joseph, played by Jesse Hernandez and Amalia Morales this year, and Jesus set out to find shelter in the historic village for all the children to see the reason for the celebration.

Going from inn to inn, and being rejected many times, the family settled in the empty manger. And as the three kings came bearing their gifts, the children were silent, focused intently on the play.

For king Tramus Hunter, it was just something that he wanted to come and volunteer for.

"It's just a wonderful experience," he said, after being asked how it felt being a king for the day.

But, the festival was not about him, he added. It was about the children.

"It's a wonderful thing for the kids," he said. "It's great to be out here."

Festival organizer Willie Cartagena agreed.

"We do this every year for the kids," he said. "It's all for them. They love it."

The festival was full of festivities. From nachos piled high with jalapenos to basketball games, everyone found something that caught their attention.

But it was the traditional Mexican dancing that really made the event feel like a part of the Hispanic heritage. The women, wearing brightly colored dresses, and the men, wearing traditional gold-accented black jackets and pants with red bandanas, attracted both old and young to the festival.

But as for the children, Cartagena said none of them were leaving without a present.

"It really is like Christmas," he said.