- Published on Thursday, 30 July 2015 11:06
- Written by Breanna Bright
A surprising fact about Cobden, Illinois is it’s long history of migrant workers from Latin America and Mexico. The little Southern Illinois town, known for its wineries and peaches, is having a festival to celebrate the culture of this group of immigrants with the P’urhepecha Festival.
Warren Anderson, a professor of Anthropology says that, “Cobden has served as a focal area for families finding housing there and finding work there. For some curious reason Cobden seems to be a center point.”
Pedro Thomas, the event organizer says that some of the first migrants came from his hometown in Mexico in 1960, getting jobs harvesting some of Cobden’s famous cultural crops. In this way their culture integrated itself into Southern Illinois culture, and now many of Spanish decent hold professional positions as engineers, architects, and teachers. Thomas wants to show new migrants that there is a better life to be earned in the area. The festival is a way of honoring that part of their culture.
Because of this local volunteers were able to create a partnership with the town of Cherán in Mexico, who have provided professional dancers and musicians to perform at the festival. Cherán is the hometown of many migrants who now live in the Southern Illinois region.
The P’urhepecha Festival is in its sixth year, with new additions that include professional P’urhepecha dancers, musicians, authentic ethnic food, traditional clothing, and much more. This is an educational and family-friendly event open to the public.
The festival takes place August 1 and 2, noon to 8:00 p.m. in the park next to the Cobden high school. On Friday, July 31 there is also a pre-celebration at the Old Feed Store starting at 7:00 p.m.