By Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
Dancing, artists' booths and tamale and salsa preparation contests will be part of the seventh-straight Cinco de Mayo Community and Health Street Fair on Sunday in Smith River.
Begun to welcome new clients to the then-new Smith River Community Health Center, the event has grown to a party that attracts hundreds of people.
"This year the Hmong dancers will be there, and KHSU will be broadcasting live," event director Hilda Yepes Contreras said.
Seven years ago, organizers chose the well-known Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo as "the best date to welcome" their new clients.
"We decided to have a fiesta for this county," Yepes Contreras said.
The expansion of Del Norte Community Health Center into Smith River essentially brought services to a population that had trouble getting to Crescent City when it needed medical help, she said.
As it has in past years, the festival will feature artist Norma Pea and Smith River potter and silversmith Linda Yuvan, whose booths will display their works.
Pea, who is originally from Mexico City, uses oils, acrylics and pastels to paint the landscapes of her native land. She also paints flowers and parakeets, and has used St. George Reef Lighthouse as a model.
She has painted for 35 years, and has exhibited in nearly all of the Cinco de Mayo street fairs.
Yuvan specializes in making "food-related items, pots for cooking.
"Some of my pots are sawdust-fired, some have wooden lids; I cook on wood and I can cook in these."
Yuvan will also have her "nature-inspired" jewelry displayed. Pieces will include earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
She's lived in Smith River for 39 years, occupying the "old Cooper house," a structure that's 113 years old.
A group of young dancers, Happy Toes, will be on hand.
"They're so cute, they're 0 to 5," she said.
Joining the dancers is DJ David Bambia, who works at La Joya Market, the Mexican market Crescent City residents drive to Smith River for to find key ingredients for their recipes.
In the food department, Smith River's women are no doubt cooking enough food to feed a small army. Expect to find homemade tamales, tacos and enchiladas.
Younger partiers can enjoy the Wonder Bus and work off their energy in the Jumping Castle.