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    Lowrider show brings vibrancy to Red Square

    By Julia Berkman

    Over 50 cars lined up around Fisher Fountain on Sunday, May 20 for the 18th annual Ridin’ Low in the 360 car show.

    The event drew hundreds of people, car lovers or not, and featured three food trucks, lots of shops, a paleteria and mangonadas, as well as activities and dances throughout the day.

    The main event that drew the biggest crowd was the Hop Contest. Cars with hydraulics were driven behind the art building to showcase how high their car could bounce.

    The winner cleared the 70-inch marker with ease. Unfortunately, another car wasn’t so lucky and began to smoke. A crowd of people ran to the back of the car, trying to help in any way they could.

    The winning car almost clears the 70-inch marker, putting it in first place
    on May 20. // Photo by Julia Berkman

    It’s a community like that that gets people into car shows, said Karen Fox, whose 1941 Chevy Coupe won second place in the Bombas category.

    “This is a family thing to do. The nice thing about the car shows, too, is that [money] always goes to charity,” she said.

    Ray Enciso in the middle of disqualifying himself from the musical chairs competition on May 20. // Photo by Julia Berkman

    Danny Hererro, a member of Old School Traditions, brought his bright green Dodge that he works on for at least 10 hours every weekend. Hererro grew up in LA, where he said he saw lowriders all the time.

    “It’s art. It’s a passion,” he said.

    Organizers Anna and Alejandra Soltero have put in the work to showcase that art. They took over co-chairing the event from another pair of sisters.

    According to Alejandra Soltero, most of the car owners come from Vancouver, B.C. and Mount Vernon.

    Camilla Mejia dancing with columbia folklorica de WWU on May 20. // Photo by Julia Berkman

    “We wake up every day and have lowrider show on our mind,” Anna Soltero said.

    If she had a lowrider, she said it would have sparkles and candy-bright paint.

    “Most of the car owners are men. We want to break the stereotype that only men can have lowriders. Whatever these men can do, we can do it as well,” Anna Soltero said.

    Both Soltero sisters acknowledged that the show would populate Red Square with far more people of color than normal.

    “[The show] creates a more welcoming space for people of color. On most days on campus, Red Square is predominantly white,” Alejandra Soltero said.

    A Low Rider volunteer tries to eat a paleta while playing musical chairs on May 20. // Photo by Julia Berkman

    Later in the day, when the sun hung low over Red Square, the organizers of the first Lowrider Show spoke.

    “This art form that is all around us right now is validated and honored,” said Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez, who was a member of MEChA along with Alvaro Vicente. Vicente now supervises MEChA at Ferndale High School.

    “Getting our community to a college campus, that was always the goal,” Vicente said.

    Car enthusiasts and community members alike came to Red Square to enjoy the masterpieces on display on May 20. // Photo by Julia Berkman

    It wasn’t always easy, though. Vicente said it was hard to get through to the administration. The worry was that the bricks on Red Square couldn’t handle cars.

    “This is one of the events that I hold true to my heart. It’s been 18 years and I’ve never missed the event,” he said.

    Both the Soltero sisters and Fox acknowledged the added benefit of having a show on a college campus.

    “I like the college atmosphere. There’s a lot of diversity here. You see things here that you wouldn’t see at a normal car show,” Fox said.

    Anna Soltero hopes that showcasing that the event is completely student-run will be inspiring for young people.

    “We want the teenagers, the kids to see that they can come to school, they can put on a show and make a difference in their community,” she said.

    All photos were taken on May 20 at the annual Ridin’ Low in the 360 car show by Julia Berkman.

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