On Sunday—Mexican Independence Day—New Rochelleans flocked to Library Green for Fiesta Grande that kicked off the New Rochelle Public Library's Big Read, the community-wide reading of Sun, Stone and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories.
Part of the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District's Family Days events, Library Green was transformed into a performance space and marketplace, with local artisans demonstrating traditional Mexican crafts, over 20 vendors selling Mexican wares and foods and craft projects for children.
"We have the three events rolled into one," said Barbara Davis, the library's community relations coordinator.
She said the books would be available at the library's front desk.
"With the library card you can borrow a book in either English or Spanish," Davis said, "or you can purchase one for $5." People who bought books at the fiesta were entered into a raffle for gift baskets.
There will numerous book discussion throughout the Big Read, including one at a Nov. 3 exhibit of the Day of the Dead at New Rochelle High School in November.
Mayor Noam Bramson welcomed the crowd in front of the library.
He said it was a great occasion in so many ways: by having a chance to enjoy a great piece of literature, by celebrating the value of reading to all, but especially to the children and by celebrating a culture that is at the very heart of New Rochelle today.
"And finally by celebrating one culture we help to strengthen our community as a whole and appreciate all the cultures that make up New Rochelle," Bramson said.
The library was one of 78 nonprofit organizations chosen to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2012-13, said Community Relations Coordinator Barbara Davis. The library received $15,000.