Local DJ Amer and Co-Founder of Project Freedom. (Meili Bettina Robles/Borderzine.com)

Downtown welcomes glowing Halloween revelers with open streets

EL PASO — Whether they were dressed as a banana, boxing champion, a huge hand flipping the bird, or just plain decked out in glow sticks, one thing was certain, they celebrated the first Halloween of its kind running through downtown. Thanks to Downtown Glow, the first annual event by Flow Entertainment, El Pasoans had a place to celebrate Halloween in a healthy, fun and bright way. The event took place on October 31 on one mile of closed streets including Oregon and Main. “We had seen this concept in other cities and saw that it was very successful,” said Crystal Bocanegra, co-founder of Downtown Glow. After seeing an event like this in Las Vegas, Crystal and her husband Alby decided to use their experience in event planning to create one where participants could enjoy what their own city had to offer.

Angelica Sanchez and her children enjoy Puerto Rican food at Maracas. (Meili Robles/Borderzine.com)

Maracas plays a savory Cuban beat and a Puerto Rican salsa

CANUTILLO, TX – At the border, a few yards before the tiny town of Canutillo becomes the busy city of El Paso, cars whiz by a run-down gas station without a second glance at the caution tape wrapped around the gas pumps, missing what many believe to be the best sandwich shop in town. Maracas, located at 911 Talbot, is the home of the Cuban sandwich, the sandwich that made the eatery famous in El Paso. What many don’t know however is that it is also home to a vast variety of Puerto Rican food. “I come Friday’s because he has the comida criolla… That’s the type of food I really like,” said Raymond Valles, a regular customer who was enjoying Pollo en Fricasé. Maracas owner Raymond Ortiz explained that to prepare Pollo en Fricasé, they must let the chicken marinate overnight in a stew-like marinade made with pureed vegetables.

The calendar lies forgotten in a corner of the classroom. (Meili Robles/Borderzine.com)

Nahuatl, the Aztec language that once graced Canutillo Elementary was displaced by pragmatism

CANUTILLO, Tx. – While many schools are integrating bilingual studies into their programs, one teacher went beyond the two-language system at Canutillo Elementary to include Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Carlos Aceves, a fifth grade teacher at the school, began teaching Nahuatl and the Aztec calendar to his students in 1995. But in the same way that the Spanish did away with the Aztecs, the need to prepare students to take the state mandated achievement tests purged the Native American language from the curriculum. “The first year I did it without telling anybody,” recalls Aceves.