Hundreds attend Mattawa Children's Day celebration

May 1—MATTAWA — Hundreds of residents in and around Mattawa headed to Hund Memorial Park Saturday to celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros, also known as Day of the Children and Day of the Book.

Mattawa Mayor Maria Celaya reflected on the event, the result of a partnership between the city of Mattawa, Mattawa Public Library, Mattawa Community Medical Clinic, Columbia Basin Health Association and other local organizations.

"It was definitely a success," Celaya said. "We had more participation from the local businesses. If you look at our flyers, it says 'the Community of Mattawa presents;' that's because the community comes together, they donate candies, they donate prizes. Tati's Bakery gave us a discount on their doughnuts, which helps. People give monetary donations, so we use those donations to purchase things that are needed."

According to the American Library Association website, the holiday — — commonly known as Día — is an American adaptation of Mexico's Children's Day on April 30, combining the celebration of children with an emphasis on literacy and libraries.

"We always look forward to (events)," Celaya said. "Our events kind of are becoming more of a tradition ... With this event, just definitely more, for next year, adding more activities, more outdoor activities. We've been pretty successful. We heard that the library had over 100 visitors."

Celaya said the motivation behind the event, in addition to providing a fun activity for the city, is to promote unity and community.

"This is our third year. I believe 2021 was our first year," she said. "It's kind of been the same as from the start. It's been a big event ... It's very popular. It's our first event in the community for the year."

Celaya said attendance was on par with previous years' celebrations.

"It was definitely good. I know we probably had about 300 people attend, if not more," she said. "From conversations with people, we know that there were people from Yakima, there were people who came from out of town, who were at the flea market and they drove by the park and saw that there was something, that there was an event, and stopped by."

Activities at the event included music, food, games, informational vendors, piñatas and contests, crafts and prizes.

"We had more raffles; we definitely had more prizes for the raffles," Celaya said. "We're promoting our bike party for the summer; we're having a bike party in the summer with our movie nights, so we're promoting that so we did have six bikes donated for the raffles."

Celaya elaborated on some of the feedback she received from event attendees.

"I heard people who said it was fun ... We always like to ask," she said. "I like to walk around and ask people how it went, or we'll get some feedback from people; definitely (we'll be) adding more games, more activities for the families to stay engaged."

Mattawa resident Edgar Loera said he came to the event for his daughter to have fun and see the activities. He explained what the best parts of events such as Children's Day are.

"Just seeing so many people gathering to just support the community," he said. "It's really fun."

Wahluke School District Board Member Craig Sabin, who drove a tractor in the parade, outlined his favorite part about the parade.

"Just seeing all the kids and families being involved," he said. "Everybody gets excited, especially about the candy."

Sabin said he enjoyed the community aspect of the event.

Celaya also commented on the holiday.

"We've seen Day of the Children's celebrations pop up around us more and more, so we're hoping that we've inspired and motivated other communities to do the same," she said.

Celaya emphasized that the community events encompass more than just those who reside in Mattawa city limits.

"When we're planning these events, we have Mattawa and residents from surrounding areas in mind," she said. "We always welcome everyone to participate in our events. We have some families that come in, seasonal families that come in for work. Everyone's welcome to join in and celebrate, because it's a celebration of culture, celebrating our community."

Gabriel Davis may be reached at