SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

The Chile & Frijoles festivities through different perspectives



By Hailee Langowski 


On Saturday, Sept. 24th, early morning, the Pueblo community came for the second day of the Chile & Frijoles Festival. The 28th Annual Chile & Frijoles Festival highlighted Pueblo’s growing agriculture. It promoted fresh, locally produced goods at numerous farm stands and specialty shops operating year-round during the festival. 

The celebration included live music, food competitions, street vendors, and chilis. Locals from Pueblo attended the event, held in the city’s downtown along Union Avenue, together with individuals from other regions of the state and the nation.

While vendors were roasting chile, cooking and setting up, ballet Folklórico dance groups from around the United States performed on the lawn at El Pueblo History Museum. 

Iskra Merino is the Director of Grupo Omawari, a local community Folklorico group inspiring respect and admiration for the art of Mexican dance. Merino also curated “The ¡Fandango! Ballet Folklórico Showcase.” All performances were free with festival admission and opened to the public.

Dianne Archuleta, the Director of History Colorado’s El Pueblo History Museum, explained that the ¡Fandango! Event is a festival tradition. As the Rocky Mountain Mexican Folkloric Dance Competition happened the same day at CSU Pueblo Hoag Recital Hall, El Pueblo History Museum worked with Merino for groups to experience community performances. 

She said, “It’s a tradition we started. We believe the community really needs to see all the different dancers and cultures; we [got] to see one [group] from California [and] Chicago. We just love the fact we get to bring different groups down here every year to perform beautifully and make sure we give everyone an experience they’ll never forget!”

Archuleta mentioned Groupo Xochitl opens the Fandango and other performances throughout the year and practices in the El Pueblo History Museum. Groupo Xochitl is an Aztec traditional Meshika dance group from Pueblo, CO. 

“They are a part of our El Pueblo Museum family as well,” said Archuleta. 

Mia Stevens, a member of Groupo Xochitl, shared the origin name xochitl means flower, from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec and Toltec civilizations of Mexico. Stevens has been dancing with her family for over 20 years. She explained that this groupo and this peaceful way of living continue to help her throughout her own life. Her family and community connections are significant to Stevens and Groupo Xochitl. 

Groupo Xochitl celebrated the Chile Festival with the community as a tradition. Stevens shared the uniqueness of the festival and Pueblo traditions, such as roasting Pueblo or eating a Slopper, typically a burger topped with hot green chili and shredded cheese. 

Stevens mentioned Groupo Xochitl does various events with families in Pueblo, such as helping with medical expenses, funeral mourning and passing processes, as well as awareness and education festivals. She mentioned allowing the youth population to know we are here and that there are safe outlets in the community is valuable. 


Stevens said, “It’s good to reach out to the community and let them know that we are here for them. We’ve known and helped so many people here, it feels like we are family once we make those connections.” 

While Folklórico dance groups celebrated history and culture throughout the day, you could feel the liveliness of people while walking through the crowded streets of downtown Pueblo. 

It seemed an almost endless street of vendors offering fresh salsa or selling toys, art and jewelry. At the same time, while walking along the sidewalks of Union Ave., you can notice many shops opened during the festival. 

The Land of Ozz is a thrift shop with vinyl records, rock n’ roll and science fiction memorabilia with many rare and unique finds. The address is 131 S. Union Ave. 

Walking into the shop, you can see everything from hand-crafted custom-made jewelry to vintage clothing all about rock n’ roll. The shop has many reasonably priced must-see vintage and new collectibles. 

Marc and Susan Scozzafava have been the owners of the Land of Ozz for almost three years. They live in Colorado Springs but like having the business in Pueblo as they appreciate the people, atmosphere and culture.

Marc explains, “We do love the Pueblo community very much. We wouldn’t change it; if we were to expand, we’d want to stay here.” 

Marc mentioned the festival is an event showcasing Pueblo to others. “It’s a great way to show people it is a good and positive place. A lot of great things are happening around here.” 

Even while the festivities have ended, the Pueblo community continues to connect and support one another through business, culture and Pueblo chile.

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