A crowd of people consisting of all ethnicities and backgrounds gathered together inside the gymnasium for the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage celebration at Campo Family YMCA on October 28. This event gave individuals an opportunity to gain exposure to the foods and cultures of the 22 countries it represented such as Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and more.

More than 100 individuals attended, including non-members and members. A focus group called Hispanos Unidos at Campo Family YMCA created the idea for this event. Hispanos Unidos was established in March 2016 by the Hispanic members at Campo Family YMCA.

A Hispanos Unidos volunteer from the group, Victoria Araque, said that this was her first year and loves it.

“I am new in Brandon and Campo Family YMCA opened the door for us in regards to the event occurring here,” Araque said.

Some of the activities that individuals could participate in included Zumba, other dancing, cornhole and a piñata. A mariachi band also played some tunes, which drew a crowd to the dance floor. People of all ages moved to the music and even sang in their native language. The youth had a chance to take a few swings at the piñata that had a variety of candies and small souvenirs. Many businesses also contributed by providing numerous foods and beverages to those interested.

“I like the people who work for the community,” Araque said. “When we asked for help people responded.”

Campo Family YMCA recently brought on board a new Senior Membership Director named C.J. Hernandez. This was his first time going to the event and it meant so much to Hernandez. His grandfather emigrated in the 1960’s from Mexico to Chicago, Illinois.

“I feel excited to be in an area where my culture is celebrated,” Hernandez said.

For more information, visit www.tampaymca.org/locations/campo/. It is located at Culbreath Rd. in Valrico and is open Monday through Friday 5 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 12-6 p.m. Call 684-1371.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.