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Key Club wraps up summer of cultural fun days at Madras Saturday Market in Sahalee Park.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - From front to back, Tylie Isaac, Cayman Ippolito, Maya Garcia, Isabella Benitez, Jahzel Villa, Colton Chambers, Alessandra Benitez and Samantha Isaac perform a dance called 'Los Cantaritos,' at the Key Club's El Salvadorian Kids Cultural Day at Sahalee Park on Saturday. The country of El Salvador was on display for the last of three Cultural Youth Days the Madras High School Key Club, held during the summer vacation.

For the first time, they brought in a more complicated craft in the form of wood block painting and kids and adults alike crowded around the craft table all day. Using tracer paper, the Key Clubbers put down birds, chickens, flowers, bird houses and other displays of Salvadorian wood art for people to then paint onto wood blocks. It was so popular they will bring it back when they have a booth at the Latino Festival on Sept. 14.

The other craft was to make the capirucho game and then play it. This is a simple stick with a bell shaped piece of wood attached. The wood is then carved to have a hollow center similar to a cup that is then to be "caught" on the top piece of the wood. The craft was done using a pencil and a small paper cup with the paper cup being decorated and modified with beads for a bit of weight to make the game work.

They had their usual button maker with choices of the El Salvadorian flag, a butterfly with the colors of the Salvadorian flag and many kids drew and colored their own designs.

Key Club brought in a numbers logic game to see if people would be interested in some brain teasers before school starts back up. People did not do the logic game on their own, but when encouraged to play (they could go to the treasure chest and pick out treasure if they played) everyone seemed to get in the competitive spirit with a few kids playing it more than once.

There was a pinata mid-morning and kids lined up by height to get a chance to swing at the pinata filled with toys, candy and small crafts. After the pinata, Studio K Dancers came in and did specialty Salvadorian dances. They also had full Salvadorian custom-made costumes, props and traditional music. According to dance instruction and owner, Karina Ruefner, "The dances are unique and not performed very often in our area, let alone in the United States. Dance is an important way to represent the people and culture of El Salvador."

All three cultural events over the summer — Peru, Mexico and the most recent one El Salvador — were held during the Madras Saturday Market and were free of charge. The goal was to increase activities for youths during the summer and focus on cultural education through crafts, activities, food, music and costumes.

MHS Key Club advisor Kim Schmith, said, "I am so proud of what the student leaders of our community were able to provide this summer for the younger kids. The high schoolers could have coasted and yet they worked hard to create events for the local kids."

"These events would not have happened without the financial support in the form of grants from the Jefferson County Cultural Coalition, the city of Madras, and the music support from Madras Saturday Market," she said.


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