Stockton is Magnificent: Delta College Plaza comes alive in vibrant celebration of culture, food and diversity

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A member of “Ballet Folklorico de Frank Zapata” dances. PHOTO BY MIDORI MORITA
All in attendance gathered for a group photo. PHOTO BY MIDORI MORITA
All in attendance gathered for a group photo. PHOTO BY MIDORI MORITA

Delta College’s campus hosted the fifth Stockton is Magnificent event on Saturday, April 2.

More than 100 organizations participated in the festivities including The Collegian and 20 other Delta-related booths.

Denise Jefferson, founder and director of Stockton is Magnificent said the team came up with the idea for this event, “when Forbes magazine designated Stockton as the most miserable city for the third time. I was the director for the Miracle Mile at the time and the merchants got together and said we’ve got to put a stop to this. … So we threw a party thinking it was just going to be that one time and it was a wonderful party … so we just continued it from there.”

Five events and hundreds of booths later, the celebration brought Delta’s campus to life.

“I think that one of the challenges for Stockton is there isn’t a sense of place in a lot of our residents and they aren’t connected to the city in any way and a city that doesn’t have residents who love the city isn’t successful,” said Jack Sanders, articulation officer for Delta and four-year Stockton is Magnificent volunteer.

One of the goals for Stockton is Magnificent is to highlight the businesses and groups that make this city unique and diverse.

“The whole idea of Stockton’s magnificent today, I really love it. It’s providing something for our community. It’s giving information, resources and services,” said Rudy Lovato, a Stockton Police Department Sergeant.
There’s a community push to see Stockton be represented for what it truly is as opposed to what others think.

“Downtown Stockton is a fabulous place it just needs to be rebuilt and it’s starting to happen … I see a revival,” said Sanders.

A member of “Ballet Folklorico de Frank Zapata” dances. PHOTO BY MIDORI MORITA
A member of “Ballet Folklorico de Frank Zapata” dances. PHOTO BY MIDORI MORITA

Stockton is Magnificent not only promoted the communities of the city, but also Delta College and its programs.

“A lot of people in Stockton don’t know that much about Delta College or our campus so their getting to learn more about Stockton but their learning about our campus here at Delta which is important,” said Daryl Arroyo, Delta College Athletic Director.

Booths set up in the new plaza, showing upgrades the campus has experienced. The event utilized three stages for entertainment, one in the plaza, one in front of the Goleman Library and another in front of the North Forum.

“Stockton (is) Magnificent is doing two things today: providing information resources to our community members and most importantly putting it at one stop shop area, Delta College which we all love,” said Lovato.

Since 2010, the event has grown at least three times its size according to Jefferson.

The non-profit sees more volunteers and more organization participation with each hosting.

“I’ve seen people coming together more [over the past four years] and more people embracing … all the different cultures we have here in Stockton,” said Hillary Smuts, a four-year volunteer.

Residents and community leaders involved with the event put in countless hours to put on a day that included 185 booths, 20 entertainment groups and 11 food trucks.

“This shows Stockton is magnificent, that it’s not a miserable place, that there are a lot of great people and great things to do in Stockton,” said Smuts.

Now a well-known gathering, Stockton is Magnificent attracts hundreds of people, bringing awareness to all that is happening in the city.

“I think it works to lift the self-esteem of the community and the individuals within it so I think that’s a really positive step,” said Carrie Wager, Stockton resident.

The number of people and excitement at Saturday’s event commends how much work was put into it.

“Our mission is to promote the positive attitude in Stockton and we feel the outside’s never going to see us as positive until the inside also sees us as positive,” said Jefferson.

Editor’s note: Reporting done by Collegian Staff.