Cultural immersion with a side of salsa
By Nick Arbaugh, Contributing Writer
This year’s 10th annual Salsa on the Square event, which took place on the September 16, proved to be all that was advertised and more. Not only did it provide a good, wholesome source of fun for the students with too much time on their hands, but it also provided an interesting look into how an event can remain focused on fun in a society that tends to take itself too seriously.
With my favorite Hawaiian shirt in hand I, along with many other students, set off for Gettysburg’s town square in order to enjoy a festive and relaxed night of dancing and authentic cuisine. There were food trucks, food stations and a band that had just the right groove going all night long. In a beautiful small-town setting, families and students from all over Gettysburg took part in an exploration of culture. First Year student and El Centro tutor Helen Winters said, “It was an excellent event for people to learn about Latino culture and to connect with [Gettysburg’s] Hispanic community.” The Salsa on the Square event celebrates Gettysburg’s relationship with its sister city in Nicaragua, Leon.
In addition to the authentic food, an atmosphere of whimsy and a shared care-free attitude afforded all participants a well-deserved mini-vacation from the humdrum of daily life. There was dancing of all ages and skill levels where several elderly couples firmly confirmed that my pithy arsenal of dance moves drastically needs updating. Gettysburg’s Salsa on the Square proved to be a great introduction for students (particularly first-years), not only to some elements of Latino culture but also to the Gettysburg community as a whole.