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Fiesta Celebrates Hispanic Flavor
The music of a mariachi band mingled with the appetizing smell of tacos stalls as a crowd gathered in the Plaza del Rio on Saturday for the second annual Fiesta to celebrate the Hispanic side of Riverbank.

Once the dancers of the local Ballet Folklorico group had left the stage, the fiddlers and trumpeters of the Mariachi La Union out of Modesto took over with the sad love songs of Mexico. They were followed by the very different beat of a rock band called Hollopoynt that first practiced in a Riverbank garage behind the Galaxy Theater 10 years ago.

Mayor Virginia Madueno introduced the four young women who walked all over town to sell raffle tickets to raise funds to stage the Fiesta and the Fiesta Queen Ball that occurred at the Community Center that evening.

Of the four contestants, Barbara Verduzco sold the most tickets with a count of 1,785 and won a $150 college scholarship as her prize. She was trailed by Michelle Medina who sold 1,599 tickets and was awarded a $100 scholarship. Laura Combs recorded a count of 360 and Stephanie Vazquez a count of 333.

The holder of a winning raffle ticket drawn at the event was due to receive a 32-inch flat screen television set, said Chris Elswick who helped organize the Fiesta. Attendance at the Fiesta Queen Ball was a little disappointing, said Barbara Navarro, who sold tickets to the Ball at her Yari's Salon and Spa on Santa Fe Street. About 100 people, she estimated, went on from the Plaza celebration to the Fiesta Queen Ball to dance to the music of the Banda La Tequilera based in Atwater.

Next year, she suggested, the contestants could still be introduced at the Plaza but the choice of Queen and her coronation should be done at the Ball.

Other features of the Fiesta were a petting zoo and pony rides.

Sponsors of the event included the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, Imagen public relations company, Cosmo Belleza Yari's Salon & Spa, Don Francisco Foods and Gold's Gym.