A Hispanic business group is hosting a fundraiser to raise money for the Miss Woodstock Scholarship Pageant, and the public is invited.

Hispanic Connections Woodstock will hold its first-ever Salsa Night with Hispanic Connections from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at Flores Banquets, 240 N. Throop St.

The $5 admission charge will go toward supporting two Latina contestants for the Miss Woodstock competition — one for the senior level and one for the Little Miss Woodstock program.

The pageant, hosted by the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Industry, will be held June 2, 2018. Hispanic Connections Woodstock is part of the chamber.

“We are planning to pay not only for the fees to get in, but also to help them with a dress and things like that,” said Juanita Vega, one of the leaders of Hispanic Connections Woodstock.

The business group launched in January with the aim of connecting Woodstock’s Hispanic community — and its entrepreneurs — with the wider community. It has about 20 business members ranging from insurance and financial service providers to restaurants and mechanics.

“We are all working hard to get the Hispanic and Latino community together to be able to participate in all of these cultural events that the town is having,” Vega said. “We want to integrate ourselves into the rest of the Woodstock community and participate. That’s one of the goals of our group, to integrate and to show our culture as well.”

The kid-friendly fundraiser will feature a DJ from Woodstock’s Potts & Pans Steelband/Culture, Arts & Music playing salsa, bachata, cumbia, merengue and more. Food and drinks will be for sale. If the fundraiser collects more than necessary to pay for two Miss Woodstock contestants, Vega said, the remainder will go toward Hispanic Connections Woodstock’s other events. A few months ago, the group held its first Mexican Independence Day celebration.

“We want to help the community and do all these events for them, and to integrate the community,” Vega said. “I think that’s why we’re getting so much participation and support from the businesses in town.”

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