Volunteers find lessons in culture at Hispanic heritage event

 Volunteers filled Kleman Plaza Saturday to contribute to the third annual Tally Fiesta, a yearly event to celebrate Hispanic heritage.

  Organizers said the event's mission remains the same: to teach and share the Spanish-speaking cultures with the Tallahassee community.

  “While attending Florida State University I came to the reality that Hispanics were hard to find so I thought of resources and ideas with friends to create and event and I received overwhelming support,” said Mia Rosario, the founder and chair of Tally Fiesta.

  For the dozens of men, women and teenagers, the event was about being exposed to different cultural behaviors. Taylor Hunter, a Florida A&M student, said she learned to appreciate Hispanic culture more through volunteering at Tally Fiesta.

  “I like it because you get to enjoy a different culture, and it is a very nice cultural experience to see outside of every day African-American culture,” said Hunter, a third-year social work student.

  Chairs and blankets filled the plaza lawn and vendors selling everything from Peruvian to Cuban foods ringed the outside of Kleman Plaza. Deeper inside, several organizations ran information booths, and some managed events for the children.

  Helei Gomariz, president of Rickards High School Spanish Club, said Tally Fiesta brings the community at large closer to the Spanish-speaking community.

  “This event is great because it raises awareness of Spanish culture,” Gomariz said.

  Laqunda McCoy, project specialist for Home Depot, called Tally Fiesta a “great event to collaborate and establish community connections with the Hispanic community here in Tallahassee.”

  The Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce is among the largest sponsors of the event each year. President Wendell Page said he was a “proud supporter of the growth and development of Hispanic culture and business.”

  The event helps to launch Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on Sept. 15.