Editor's note: This story has been updated to better reflect how a source identifies. One source, Chris, has requested not to have his full name published to maintain privacy in his drag queen identity.
Covered in purple flowers and blasting “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” the Student Activity Center Ballroom was filled with about 500 students Wednesday evening to commemorate Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.
The Campus Events + Entertainment’s Mexican American Culture Committee hosted its second Flor Festival celebrating Selena after her recent birthday on April 16. They named the event after one of her most famous songs, “Como La Flor.”
Undeclared sophomore Nayeli Sanchez, the event coordinator of Flor Festival and publicity officer for the committee, said Selena is a significant figure in the Latinx community, especially since she was the first Mexican American to win a Grammy.
“People who aren’t even Latinx know who she is,” Sanchez said. “Since she has such a large fanbase, I feel like we should really commemorate her and bring communities together who know and love Selena and that want to celebrate her.”
Flor Festival featured activities such as making paper flowers, a raffle, karaoke, dancing and Selena lotería in memory of the Tejano singer. The event also included a Selena drag queen show and some of Selena’s favorite foods, including Jack in the Box tacos.
International studies sophomore Chris, one of the Selena drag queens, said he has loved Selena ever since he was young.
“(Flor Festival) is important for me because I wanted to take some of the power Selena has and use it for me,” Chris said. “She amounted to so much success, and even after her death, she is still a household name. We love her, we appreciate her and we treasure her.”
Because of the popularity of the event, Sanchez plans to bring back Flor Festival next year. She said she hopes to see it grow and continue for many more years to come.
Psychology freshman Nicklas Martinez and sociology freshman Isaiah Shaver attended Flor Festival because they both admire Selena.
“She is one of my biggest inspirations because I would like to embody what she embodies: class, elegance and grace,” Martinez said.
Shaver said he has been a longtime fan of Selena, and he grew up in a city that loved her.
“I think she significantly represents Latinx culture because of her excellence,” Shaver said. “She wasn’t anybody, but she had a drive to become what she wanted to be.”