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Carnaval San Francisco 2024 names official King and Queen

Carnaval San Francisco names official King and Queen
Carnaval San Francisco names official King and Queen 03:59

SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid the vibrant festivities of San Francisco's annual Carnaval celebration, Yeison Jimenez and Monica Mendoza have been selected as the official king and queen for 2024.

Jimenez, from Colombia, expressed his honor in representing his hometown of Neiva and showcasing Afro-Colombian dances such as "mapale."

"I dreamed about this -- prepared, rehearsed, trained and did a lot of things. We have to work a lot so I feel excited for this. I'm so happy," he exclaimed.

For Mendoza, the first Peruvian to be crowned queen, the moment carries significant responsibility.

"It's a big responsibility," Mendoza said. "First, I hope I can make everyone proud."

For Jimenez and Mendoza this is an opportunity to delve into each other's cultural heritage.

"We want to honor our indigenous community and we want to share with the S.F. community here where we came from," Jimenez said.

Mendoza, in particular, took creative risks, presenting a never-before-displayed dance at the festival -- the marinara norteña.

"This is the national dance of Peru ... This dance is very traditional, it came from the time when we were colonized," she explained.

According to the U.S. Census, the Bay Area's diverse Latin American community continues to grow, providing a platform for deeper cross-cultural exchange.

"I like to learn from other cultures. I like to have the opportunity to share mine too, without hesitation, without saying 'Oh no, I might not do that' because, you have the freedom to do that and that's what I found here in the Bay Area," Mendoza said.

Jimenez says he's grateful to learn from other Latin communities too.

"I didn't have that chance in Colombia so I'm taking advantage of that opportunity here to take a lot of classes from different parts of the world." 

As Carnaval S.F. continues into its 45th year, the king and queen embody the spirit of unity and cultural appreciation, bringing a vibrant blend of traditions to the heart of San Francisco.

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