Story By Jose Servin, Joanna Meza, Arleeny Escarcega, Laura Garcia and Diana Martinez
President Erlinda Martinez played the violin and sang Las Mananitas with the Don Mariachi Ensemble before fireworks punctuated Santa Ana College’s 100th birthday celebration.
Faculty, students and community members came together on Sept. 19 to commemorate a century milestone for the college, as the campus grounds turned into a giant party.
“I’m so proud of the school. It has such a wonderful history, and to be the sitting president at this time is really a career highlight,” Martinez said.
The event drew about 7,000 people, according to Santa Ana Police estimates, with about 1,000 vendors selling food and handing out free gifts.
“I didn’t anticipate so many people, it was very well organized,” said Carmela Maldonado, who was part of the Relay for Life booth, an event th at takes place at the college and raises cancer awareness.
A Starbucks booth, hosted by the 17th St. branch, served the longest lines throughout the night, providing free cups of iced beverages that cooled partygoers in the 90-degree plus weather.
Other attractions included a Disney-sponsored fun zone for kids, and a beer and wine garden, catered by local restaurants for adults.
Gourmet food trucks parked along College Avenue provided food options, ranging from Vietnamese noodles to shaved ice cream.
“I think you know it’s a successful event when the lines are really long for the food trucks,” Board of Trustees member Jose Solorio said.
The main stage occupied the end of the football field closest to the locker rooms. There, diverse acts performed for an audience that at first was small, but eventually took up space from the end zone to the 20-yard line. The bleachers also filled by the end of the night, when the mariachi ensemble’s performance drew cheers, whistles and praise from the enthusiastic crowd.
When it came time to blow out the candles on the cake, trustees and members of the city council that were present were invited on stage.
“I think it’s very important to always celebrate the success of our students,” Board of Trustees President Larry Labrado said.