Parade, festival honor "Kiki" Camarena

October 21, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

As Imperial County residents mark the 15th anniversary of Red Ribbon Week, the message of the original anti-drug week was still being sounded Saturday as families gathered in El Centro's Bucklin Park for a family festival.

While the atmosphere was friendly and cheerful, the festival's purpose was serious.

Red Ribbon Week began as a way of honoring Calexico-native Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent killed by drug traffickers in 1985 while working undercover in Mexico.

The week and Saturday's parade and festival were designed to educate kids about drugs and to promote a drug-free lifestyle.

One pony-tailed girl sporting a "Just Say No" T-shirt sat at a booth Saturday using crayons to brighten up an education coloring book. Above the pictures of milk, beer, apple juice and cigarettes that the girl was coloring in were words advising her not to use alcohol or other drugs.

A short distance away, two boys played with a small wooden airplane bearing an anti-drug message. Across the way at another booth, a boy was trying to toss stuffed animals through a hole.


While the activities were intended to entertain as well as educate the children, there were plenty of pamphlets with more drug and alcohol information for adults.

"I came so my son can have fun," said Martina Bradshaw of Imperial.

Her 6-year-old son, Christian, told her about the festival after learning about it at school, Bradshaw said.

While he clamored for her attention, Bradshaw stopped at a table and leafed through a pamphlet.

"And I'm collecting information, too," she said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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