Cinco de Mayo holds its festive form despite rain

AmaLia, left, tells a woman’s fortune by reading a tortilla at Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo celebration as she wanders through the crowd picking people at random for readings.

Yolanda Truitt performs a traditional dance with the Ballet Folklorico at the Cinco De Mayo celebration in downtown Grand Junction on Saturday.

With thick glasses and hair drenched by intermittent rain, AmaLia worked her magic.

“Pick a tortilla, any tortilla,” she’d ask randomly during the Latin-Anglo Alliance Foundation Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on Saturday.

Always hesitant, a person would choose a warm tortilla from a stack on a paper plate she offered.

Then AmaLia, who does not use a last name, would commence with a Tia Juanita’s Tortilla Reading, a type of pretend fortune telling, using the dark spots on grilled tortillas to predict someone’s future.

“Hilarious,” said Lisa Sperl of Grand Junction. She was told she’d be going on an island cruise.

After every reading, AmaLia would hug the person and whisper in their ear, “Don’t believe a word I’ve said.”

AmaLia thought of tortilla reading as a way to raise money for the Latin-Anglo Alliance. La Milpa in Clifton donated the tortilla dough, called masa. But after five hours of rolling tortillas with other volunteers and telling fortunes, Tia Juanita’s Tortilla Reading had made only $10. Most of the tortillas were given away.

“I know I have raised a whole lot of fun,” AmaLia said. “Tortilla Reading! Hello! You have to have a lot of fun.”

Volunteer Maggie Lopez tried her hand at tortilla reading, too.

On one of her first readings, Lopez asked Rodney Alire of Grand Junction, “Are you planning a trip?”

Alire looked at his wife, and asked her, “Are you going to Vegas again?”

Before Alire’s wife could answer, Lopez said, “(The tortilla) says, ‘be very careful with your money.’ ”

The rain Saturday may have chased a few people away from the downtown street festival, but many people hung around to eat food from the vendors, watch dancers or listen to music.

Next to the tortilla reading booth at the fiesta was a health booth. Members of the Latin-Anglo Alliance provided information about free breast and cervical cancer screenings to women without health insurance.

For more information on this program, call Lydia DeLaRosa at 310-429-0092.


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