Friday, September 5
5-6p: Gabriel Estrada (Mariachi Singer)
1:30-2:30p: Cuarteto (Mariachi)
4-5pm: Banda RM7 (Regional Mexican)
8:30-9p: Bersachi (Bachata, Merengue singer)
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Fireworks over the Hispanic Festival.
The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan is holding its 37th annual Hispanic Festival September 5th and 6th in Calder Plaza, Downtown Grand Rapids. The event will run from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm on both days, and is free and open to the public.
“Each aspect of the Festival, from the food to the dancing, is a unique experience,” says Deisy Madrigal, Chief Program Officer at the Hispanic Center. “We make it possible for people to come together in one location where different cultures can be celebrated.”
Interim Executive Director Carlos Sanchez agrees.
“There are certain things that bring people together. One if rhythm, another is food. Even when people aren’t familiar with food from Latin America, the smells or the rhythm make you feel at home. It’s warm. It’s comfort. It’s a shared experience of home.”
This year, guests can expect diversity in taste and sound. The schedule of events will have music from Mexico to Guatemala, with styles that include electronic dance music, cumbia, salsa, Mexican bandas and mariachi singers. Visitors can expect to enjoy food from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Tex-Mex will also be available.
New events on the schedule include a futsal tournament (a fast-paced version of soccer that involves fewer players, a hard court and smaller ball) and monarch butterfly release, weather permitting. The Grand Rapids Public museum will showcase different artifacts and articles of clothing, illustrating the ways Hispanic cultures have helped shape the West Michigan community.
“I am looking forward to seeing people of all walks of life enjoying Festival,” says Sanchez. “It is truly a celebration of what it means to be Hispanic. It can be what helps bring us together.”
The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan provides education, intervention programming, and support services to the West Michigan community. The Center strives to provide leadership and assistance in the areas of advocacy, civil and legal rights. In addition, the Center promotes and advocates activities to promote and maintain cultural heritage.
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