As trumpets blared from the stage at Viva Quad-Cities, Raymeo Campos swayed to the mariachi music with his 6-month-old daughter curled up in his arms.
He smiled watching his nieces and nephews dance in their multicolored outfits as members of Quad-Cities Ballet Folklorico. He used to be in their shoes — that is, their dancing shoes.
"I used to dance," Campos, who lives in Silvis, said. "I've done this before."
Now he wants to introduce his daughter, Raegan, to the sights and sounds of his Mexican heritage. The infant peeked up from the nest Campos created with his arms, cracking a smile as Mariachi Campirano performed a set of classic folk songs Saturday in the parking lot of Isle Casino Bettendorf.
The event kicked off LULAC Quad-Cities Fiesta Week, which is showcasing and celebrating the Hispanic heritage and culture with events scheduled through Sept. 18 while also raising money for college scholarships. This year, LULAC awarded $33,000 in scholarships to 48 area students.
LULAC Council 10 of Davenport has awarded close to $500,000 in scholarships since 1975, while the Viva Quad-Cities Fiesta has awarded more than $270,000 in scholarship since 1994.
Other events this week include the Greater Quad-Cities Hispanic Chamber Networking Mixer, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, at Rhythm City Casino, Davenport. Current and prospective members can enjoy food, music and door prizes. Admission is $5 and there will be a cash bar. For more information or to register, go to gqchcc.com.
The week ends with the LULAC Quad-City Parade and Fiesta on Sunday, Sept. 18. Thousands are expected to gather in East Moline to celebrate Mexican Independence Day and experience Latino culture, music and fun. The annual parade kicks off at noon and will travel on 15th Avenue between 3rd and 10th streets.
Following the parade, LULAC will host a Mexican Independence Day Fiesta from 2-9 p.m. in the parking lot of Triumph Community Bank, 1523 8th St., East Moline. The event will feature food, vendors and music by DJ Nomada and Grupo Realidad. Admission is free.
Saturday's Viva event was like "one big family party," said Gary Goins of Davenport, who was with his 7-year-old son, Jaxson. His wife's family is from Mexico and he enjoys listening to the mariachi music and watching the children dance.
"Any event that celebrates culture is a good one," Goins said. "We like to do our part to celebrate different cultures. This one is important to us because of our family. Here, it's all about family."
Carrying plates of sopes, Elvia and Gregorio Aguilar of East Moline said the weather could not have been more perfect.
"Either it's too hot or too cold, but this year the weather is beautiful," Elvia Aguilar said.