On Wednesday, February 11, Mason High School was blazing with different cultures during the annual Taste of Mason. Different cultures, local vendors, and magnificent pieces of art all gathered in one place to show community members what Mason has to offer.
According to one of Taste of Mason’s hosts and Mason Middle School principal, Tonya McCall, the event is a fantastic way for citizens to learn more and interact better with other community members. The taste of Mason is a fantastic way of watching other cultures interact, McCall said.
“The purpose of the taste of Mason is to provide a community opportunity for different cultural groups to be able to share a little bit about their culture and bring some light to that for all of the Mason community to experience,” McCall said. “It is an efficient event because you have an opportunity to bring lots of different cultural events to one place. So, as a community member, I can come to Taste of Mason, I can experience foods from different cultures, I can experience cultural things such as dance, or the artwork that is here. All of that is one place, so I can have a one stop opportunity to see what’s happening with people in my own neighborhood. I think it’s an efficient opportunity because it brings people together.”
Junior Ashley Kramer, a volunteer in Taste of Mason, said that Taste of Mason is a good way for people to experience other food and cultures and also promotes small business.
“The taste of Mason is a positive influence on the community because it really helps people see all the different types of food and cultures that we have here in Mason,” Kramer said. “So someone who maybe doesn’t know that we have Modern Thai from Banana Leaf, they can come and see that and start helping the community, because most of these business are home businesses and it really helps them grow and spread awareness for them.”
Seventh grader at Mason Middle School, Andrea Hefferan, a Latino dancer, said that the Taste of Mason is a fun away to share her heritage and culture.
“We’re doing Mexican dancing from different countries,” Hefferan said. “It’s just really fun for me to dance. The people who have never seen it before, it looks really cool.”
According to Tony Aponte, the owner of Aponte’s Pizzeria, selling food and participating in Taste of Mason is a good way to reconnect with the community.
“We have been doing this (participating in the Taste of Mason) since the beginning,” Aponte said. “It gets us back in touch with everybody and all the new people in the neighborhood, and let them know who we are and everybody has fun.”
According to McCall, Taste of Mason is so efficient because it brings all aspects of the community together. Taste of Mason is also a good way to bring the entire Mason City Schools staff together, McCall said.
“I would just say that it is a really cool idea that Taste of Mason involves a lot of our different groups,” McCall said. “Not just high school students that are participants, but it involves our community by having vendors here. It involves our leaders in our Mason City Schools…it brings in our teachers. It’s a really good opportunity from everyone from all different aspects of the Mason City Schools and larger community to be together, and that’s one of the unique things that we have.”