Candy, clowns, ice cream and more

Dia del Niño, a traditional Latino holiday falling annually on April 30, drew so many families to a school celebration last year that this year's event is scheduled at a larger venue.

"It was a great success so we had to do it in a bigger place," said Leticia Servin, president of El Comite de Padres Latinos, which is planning the event.

The celebration, scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St., is free.

"What (Dia del Niño) is is parents celebrating childhood," Servin said. "There are the traditional games we play. There's always music and the things kids enjoy and love, like ice cream and cotton candy and balloons."

She remembers growing up in Mexico, one of eight children to a single mom, and looking forward to the holiday nearly as much as Christmas.

"I remember just my mom taking time to play with me during some of the day and her jumping rope with me and all of the costumes and music," she said.

More than 600 people attended last year's event, with Maria Castaneda, her husband, Juan, and their children Juan Jr., 6, and Maria, 4, among them.

"In Mexico, I used to celebrate (the holiday), but not here," she said. "Last year was the first time I heard about it, so I went with my family. I think it was great because the kids had fun and the parents are together with their kids and we have fun together. And it was very educational."

Even high school students in Mexico celebrate Dia del Niño, she said, but her favorite memories come from elementary school.

"We had a piñata, we had food and we had different activities," Castaneda said.

Last year, her children enjoyed the clown, as well as dancing and eating doughnuts.

"I explained to them what (Dia del Niño) was because it was the first time we went," she said. "In Mexico, in the culture we have, we celebrate it every year."

Some 30 agencies from the community will be present Sunday, including the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada and the Nevada State Museum.

"This is something that parents can afford to take their kids to because it's something that is free," Servin said. "That's what this is - it's a community event."

Others, like WIC (the women, infants and children's supplemental food program), the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada and the Hispanic Parent Committee will provide information on their services.

Tamales, tacos, tortas and sweet bread will be for sale.

El Comite de Padres Latinos is a group of more than 30 parent volunteers from the Carson City area whose objective is to promote Latino traditions.

Anyone interested in joining should call Servin at 443-0976.

"We're ready for more than 600 people," she said about Sunday's event. "We're hoping the entire community enjoys a great day of events for children and the community."

• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.

If you go

WHAT: Dia del Niño celebration

WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

CALL: Leticia Servin at 443-0976


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