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Key Club hosted the first of three cultural days, featuring crafts, food and games for families.

DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - From left to right, Kelly Huang, Nancy poviz, Katherinne Perodi, Kim Schmith and Erika Olivera pose in traditional Peruvian costumes that would be worn to weddings and special events in Peru. Most of the costumes worn by the group are handstiched.The Kids' Cultural Day: Peru, held this past Saturday had a turnout of more than 100 local children, during the Madras Saturday Market, where they participated in crafts, sampled juice and played games.

Crafting stations included making Peruvian pipes, a llama puppet, and God's eye yarn weavings and decorating designs to make a personalized button. Kids were also able to play a game that involved throwing coins into a dish on top of a large frog reminiscent of the traditional "Sapo" game in Peru.

While kids were busy at the craft tables, the food tables were surrounded by their parents and grandparents and other adults tasting free samples of ceviche peruano, mazamorra morada, papa a la huancayina and causa papa. Many of them went back for seconds.

Quite a few of the tasters mentioned they had previously had ceviche and discussed with Nancy Poviz, the Peruvian cook who supervised the preparation of the food, the differences in ceviche depending on the region it is prepared in, according to Key Club advisor Kim Schmith.

Erika Olivera, outgoing president, Katherinne Parodi, outgoing treasurer, Shania Garcia and Schmith helped prepare food the day before the event under the direction of Poviz.

Kids and adults also sampled several different types of juice including maracuya, a passion fruit-flavored juice, which was preferred by the kids, while adults seemed intrigued by the emoliente juice, Peru's national beverage. Emoliente always starts with barely tea as a base, but is modified depending on the region it is from, with cinnamon and other spices being added according to family recipes. Chicha morada, a purple corn juice, was also available to sample. DESIREE BERGSTROM/MADRAS PIONEER - Several types of juices avaliable for tasting at the event, including emoliente, the national beverage of Peru. The Madras Key Club put on the cultural event, held at Sahalee Park.

Poviz provided full Peruvian costume for several of the event organizers, which included traditional hats, woven belts fitting over white, colorfully embroidered shirts and hand-sewn, brightly-colored skirts. Traditionally, a full costume will have an overlying color, such as turquoise, pink, purple or red and the hat, skirt and belt will keep the color theme throughout.

"This is an event for the community, but also an opportunity for the members of our local Key Club to shine as they learn how to write grants, develop a community program, work with members of the community, put on their program, critique it and then do it again," said Schmith. "I am proud of the work they do and their commitment to the community. Many of our members are graduated seniors and they are still out here donating their time to make our community a better place to live."

Kelsey Olivera, Key Club lieutenant governor of Division 78 and a MHS senior in the fall, developed and created all the signage around town including sandwich board signs and the large banners at either end of town.

Key Club President Kelly Huang, also a senior in the fall, organized many of the details for the event, made the treasure box that will be used for all three events, and is responsible for one of the kids' favorite activities — the button maker.

"It was an honor to be able to see that all of our hard work was truly worth it! I can't wait for the next two events," said Erika Olivera. "It's exciting that this is just the start of Key Club in our community."

Her peer had a similar sentiment. "It felt great to see how happy all the kids were," said Kelsey Olivera. "Several moms told me how excited they are for the next two events and I'm really looking forward to putting on the next two events. It is an honor to serve our community."

The Key Club will hold two more events during the summer at Saturday Market, including a Mexico-themed day on July 13, and an El Salvador-themed day on Aug. 24. The club will also have craft booths at the Latino Festival on Sept. 14.

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