WHEATLAND – The Green Harvest Festival came to an end last week and the grand finale was the 10th annual salsa contest followed by a concert by the Powder River Band.
Windy Peaks partnered with Simply Creative Flowers, Fashion & Gifts this year to bring once again the downtown salsa simpatia. Platte Valley Bank and 1st State Bank also helped co-sponsor for the salsa contest.
Simpatia as defined by the urban dictionary is A word in Spanish culture that denotes a feeling of community, work ethic and compassion.
The central hub and championship round for the salsa vendors was set up outside of Windy Peaks, downtown Wheatland. The event ran Aug. 28 from 4 – 7 p.m. and the entire block of ninth street between Gilchrist and Maple Streets was blocked off and filled with hundreds of people.
People who came and enjoyed the music provided by Justin Herdt and DJ Magik, ate tons of salsa and won some incredible door prizes. At the conclusion of the contest and after the winners were announced, the Powder River Band, introduced by local bookstore owner Dan Brecht thrilled the audience with some quiet straight-to-the-heart music as well as some rocking dance tunes that got people up on their feet.
The idea for the salsa contest came a decade ago when Simply Creative owner Genia Vineyard decided she wanted to host something fun that would showcase the downtown area and let people know about the synergy that Wheatland possesses.
“Everyone got to vote seven times,” Vineyard said. “They got their tickets and then walked around sampling salsa and voted for their favorites. All the tickets were then thrown into the bin where they were eventually separated and counted.”
The three areas of voting were: people’s choice, first-third place, judges’ choice, first and second place, new entry people’s choice, overall best salsa and the best decorated table.
The winners were: Judges choice – first place, Robert Fernandez, second place, Laura Velasquez. Winner’s circle people’s choice – first place, Robert Fernandez, second place Laura Velasquez and third place, Rick Kumpf and Brian Wilhelm. New entry people’s choice – first place, Trevia Gentry, second place Sarah and Sierra Ward and third place Braxton Bitner. Robert Fernandez won for the best overall salsa and the best decorated table award went to Laura Velasquez.
The contest featured choke cherry margaritas provided by Windy Peaks. If you purchased a commemorative cup for $10, the money would go to the Fire Department and you would be able to secure a margarita.