SUMMIT, NJ - As the storm clouds formed outside and the skies darkened the gym at the Summit YMCA filled up for a celebration of a culture as the Community of Hispanics in Action held their second annual Hispanic Heritage Day on Sunday afternoon.

The organization works towards the integration of the Hispanic community into the school system. It was started by Celine Benet, a Spanish teacher at Franklin and Lincoln Hubbard schools in Summit. Summit, which has a large Hispanic population, began celebrating Hispanic Heritage Day after former Mayor Jordan Glatt declared Hispanic Heritage Day to be Oct. 5 in the City of Summit.

“After he did that, we felt committed from that year on forward to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Day,” she said.

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The event, which was largely attended last year by many members of the community, was filled to capacity again Sunday. There were mariachis, a Costa Rican dance group, a tango group, a Colombian group, salsa, merengue, and flamingo music. There was a variety of food made by different people from various countries ranging from quesadillas, floutas, flan, tamales and biscocho.

It’s really a great event for the community that families and children really enjoy, Benet said. She and the committee have been planning it since June and it’s amazing to see all their hard work come to fruition, she said.

The organization holds other events throughout the school year and a resume and career tutorial will be made available soon.  

Alexander Vego, the son of a local pastor, said, “This is a cultural thing,” he said. “It’s a wonderful event and it’s good to show the people that we’re part of them as well. “

Summit resident Marcela Morales attended for the first time and was in awe. The music, the people and the food were amazing, Morales said. She also brought delicious milk-like cake with fruit on top, which had guests’ mouths watering.

“I like it when the community gets together,” she said.