Participants of all ages develop skills playing board games at the Evanston Public Library’s Noche de Juegos/game night, held Oct. 2 at the Robert Crown Community Center.

Noche de Juegos/game night inspired friendly competition on Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St. It was also an opportunity to connect with cherished friends and family members, meet new people, build skills and have screen-free fun. Evanston Public Library hosted the event to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15.

Each year, the library celebrates throughout the month with programming that recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx people in our communities. Bilingual (English/Spanish) programs and events are held at the Main Library, Robert Crown Branch and throughout Evanston.

More than 25 community members of all ages attended Noche de Juegos, which kicked off in the main lobby of the Robert Crown Center. In addition to games, there were crafts for the kids, dinner, music, and a game of trivia with prizes for the winners.

Library staff member Daisy Tellez helps young participants make their own buttons at Noche de Juegos/game night. Credit: Heidi Randhava

The family game nights take place at both the Main Library and the Robert Crown Branch, one week apart, during Hispanic Heritage Month. Evanston Public Library Family Engagement Coordinator Tracy Olasimbo, who is also a member of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board, said attendance at Noche de Juegos increased since last year, when it was held for the first time.

“It’s at different locations, trying to give the community equal distance opportunities to participate in some of the free library events,” Olasimbo said. “This one is a little longer, with the idea of families being together, playing games, and getting to know other families. So, there are the kids playing Connect Four with other kids, and families competing in lotería together. And then we get to play some trivia and eat dinner from some of the local businesses.”

While popular games like Trivial Pursuit and Connect Four have been around for decades, lotería has been played for centuries. Sometimes called Mexican bingo or Chalupa, lotería is a game of chance that uses illustrated cards. The game originated in Italy in the 15th century and was brought to New Spain (modern Mexico) in 1769, according to Wikipedia.

Even with all the activity, the atmosphere at Noche de Juegos was welcoming and calm. Librarian Mariana Bojorquez chatted with participants while playing lotería. “I know a lot of these families, so we’re having a lot of fun,” Bojorquez said.

After the board games, the festivities continued with music, dinner and a game of trivia in the Robert Crown program room. A family game night is sure to work up an appetite, and traditional Hispanic food appeared to hit the spot for many Noche de Juegos participants.

Young participants enjoy tamales, tacos, and pizza at the Oct. 2 Noche de Juegos/game night at the Robert Crown Community Center. Credit: Heidi Randhava

“Local businesses and an Evanston family donated food, and [the library] also purchased food from local businesses,” said Olasimbo. Fresh, flavorful tamales, tacos, chips and salsa, concha bread, churros and pizza were available at the buffet style dinner.

For more programs and events offered by the Evanston Public Library, visit epl.org/events

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.

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