By Gladys B. Vargas

Hundreds of people danced, ate, and drank at Chelita, the “arts, music and miche” festival hosted by the Oxnard Performing Arts Center at Heritage Square last Sunday.

At the day-long event Oct. 1st, michelada vendors either competed to offer the best drink or offered prepared drinks with the signature red sauce on the rim, as well as taste tests and packaged mix for people to use at home. Close by, art and food vendors showcased and offered their work for purchase.

OPAC announced earlier this year that their usual “PACC the Arts Festival,” would be rebranded as “Chelita.” In an Instagram post, OPAC described the event as what happens “when Coachella vibes blend with Michelada magic in Oxnard.”

Art was available on view throughout the festival, one example being a nostalgic and colorful video installation by Oxnard’s own Karina Cortez, an analog video artist who publishes their work on Instagram as @visualesdekari.

Those interested in purchasing art directly from vendors had a wide variety to peruse and patron. Wares included crochet pieces from Studio Junmi, Henna designs from VaishRamArt, Lily’s Famous Piñatas, Matte Black Candles, and more offerings all handmade by local creatives.

Many people danced in all areas of the festival, since the entertainment lineup for the event was spread across two different stages. A main stage for larger bands such as Banda La Tormenta and The Heavyhitters, as well as DJs, offered plenty of dance floor space. People looking to sit and eat while watching live acts could do so at the community stage that featured smaller or solo acts, such as artists Anessa and Osito de Penjamo.

“This event is not only a celebration of our cultural heritage,” Festival Director Christian Ramirez said, “but also an opportunity to highlight the immense talent and creativity that our city possesses.”