By Myron Belej
For the eighth year in a row, the Summer Latin Festival held adjacent to Edmonton’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, served up authentic Latin American food, dancing, and music for another very well-attended fundraising and community building event.
The weather co-operated for the festival, which ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Roughly 250 feet of the service road north of 111 Avenue was closed to make the event possible.
Jairo Garzon, a member of the event’s organizing committee, said that more than 40 volunteers had been involved in putting the event together. There were a wide variety of musicians and dancers performing throughout the day, and a collection of cooks and servers set up in tents, similar to the larger Heritage Festival.
“Today we have nine different countries and 15 Latin American cultures represented,” said Garzon. “Although volunteers started mobilizing at 7 o’clock this morning, other preparations, including the stage and the food, started about three days ago.”
This year, an inflatable children’s play area was a big hit with younger participants.
Although the primary language for the event was Spanish, the whole community was very welcoming to English speakers. Advertising for the event targeted a wide audience, and letters were sent to area residents inviting them to participate and experience some Latin American culture.
Admission and entertainment at the event was free, with food and beverage sales from Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and several other countries helping fundraising efforts toward increasing the awareness of poverty in Latin America.
The Latin Festival coincided with an important religious feast day and celebration in the Salvadoran community.
This event is one of many that contributes to Edmonton’s recognition as a Festival City. Cultural gatherings around the city give us all an opportunity to reach out, meet new people, and try new things.
Temporary road closures, for this event, for block parties, or for the weekly Downtown Farmers’ Market, do so much to make our city a friendlier, more livable place.
Is there anyone opposed to exploring more road closures for high-quality events like this one?