UF Hispanic Heritage Month hosted their annual Art Fest in the architecture courtyard on Tuesday evening. The overall theme of the event was “The Streets of Old San Juan,” which featured activities and art pieces inspired by the art, cultureand landscape of Puerto Rico. The event aimed to promote “La Pasión por el arte,” or “passion for the arts.” The event exhibited art and performances inspired by Hispanic-Latinx culture and heritage, food catered by Mi Apá Latin Café and artistic activities such as painting and DIY flower crowns.
Over 300 people gathered in the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Sunday night to watch various acts perform in Soulfest, a multicultural talent show. Jania Lowe, a third-year public relations student and director of Soulfest, said the event is meant to showcase and celebrate the diversity and talent within The Gator Nation. The show, which is free for students, was started in 2000. Soulfest has a different theme every year. This year’s theme was Expedition Soulfest: Every Country is Gator Country. Lowe said the goal of this theme is to ensure the representation and inclusion of all Gators because The Gator Nation is global. “Every Gator from wherever they are from and wherever they go is a part of The Gator Nation,” Lowe said. This year’s Soulfest was sponsored by LIFEWTR, and students were able to submit an original art piece that represented the 2019 Soulfest theme. There were three winners of the competition, and their artwork will be displayed in the Reitz Union bookstore. LIFEWTR partnered with the event because they wanted to start a conversation of cultural expression through art.
On Saturday morning, 1,200 students and their families and friends gathered at the O'Connell Center for the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist’s Commencement Ceremony.
Gainesville Police Department collected 134 unwanted guns Saturday during a gun buyback held in front of Fire Station #3, 900 NE Waldo Road. The event, which was held in collaboration with the Alachua County Christian Pastors Association, was designed to reduce the number of weapons that could potentially fall into the wrong hands. Officers offered gift cards with amounts ranging from $50 to $300 or the option to take an Xbox One in exchange for a weapon. In total, the police had $5,000 plus the Xboxes to trade for guns. Darry Lloyd, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office, said the money for the buyback came from forfeiture funds, money confiscated in connection to illegal activity. All weapons turned over to officers are set to be broken down and destroyed unless someone has reported the gun stolen.
Celebration Pointe was lined with booths and vendors on Saturday as part of a Back to School Bash co-sponsored by Fun 4 Gator Kids, an organization that posts lists of local children’s activities, and the shopping center. The event was created to give children an afternoon of fun activities and a chance to interact with local businesses before Alachua County Schools begin classes on Aug. 12. The event featured fencing and archery demonstrations, charity drives, food and refreshments from vendors and a bounce house.
The plaza in front of the Hippodrome Theatre was transformed into a block party Saturday evening when the City of Gainesville hosted the Summer in the City Downtown Dance Party. Over 650 people of all ages attended the event, which had music from a DJ, food trucks, vendors and refreshments. Summer in the City was sponsored by Gainesville Health and Fitness and organized as a part of Gainesville150!, a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the city. Nicole Yucht, the project coordinator for Gainesville150!, said the organizers plan to hold a large event every three months during the celebration and that the next big event will be in early November. “Music and dancing brings people together,” Yucht said. “And so that’s what we really wanted to do.”
People gathered at High Dive on Saturday during the Original Gainesville Food Truck Rally presented by Glory Days. The event raised money to benefit the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, which is dedicated to providing medical aid to underprivileged communities. The rally featured a variety of food trucks as well as live music inside the bar. During the event, customers could vote for their favorite food truck by donating to jars held by volunteers beside each vendor. At the end of the night, the food truck with the most won a $100 Publix gift card — this rally’s prize was taken home by Monsta Lobsta, a truck specializing in lobster rolls.