Ohio & Michigan's Oldest and Largest Latino Newspaper

Since 1989




    media kit    ad specs    classified ad rates    about us    contact us


¡Lorain International Festival was fantastico!
By Ingrid Rivera, Special to La Prensa

It’s a festival that celebrates worldwide diversity. This year, nine Latinas said they were proud to represent the Latino community as Queen and Princesses of the 42nd Annual Lorain International Festival and Bazaar. Another Latina has been involved with the festival for over a decade.

The week-long festival, June 22 – 29, 2008, featured a parade, a Princess Pageant, live outdoor band concerts, car shows, Black River boat tours and about 40 different booth vendors of 12 different ethnic foods. All festivities were designed to celebrate the rich cultural, ethnic and other diversity of Lorain.

Natalie Rodríquez was named the 2008 Lorain International Festival and Bazaar Queen. With Natalie is Terri Soto

Lorain International Festival President and Pageant Chair Terri Soto said the greatest benefit of the festival is its ability to bring a diverse community together for a variety of ethnic music and food. “I want people to walk away from this festival gaining five pounds,” Soto joked “that means they ate and liked the food.”

Soto, of both Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, said she has been involved with the festival for about ten years beginning as a trustee in 1998 and vice-president in 2006 and 2007. Soto ran as Mexican princess in 1990 and has worked both the Puerto Rican and Mexican food booths with her family.

Natalie Rodríquez, 2008 Lorain International Festival and Bazaar Queen, said “it feels really good” to represent her Mexican heritage. Rodríquez, 20, said she’s been involved with the festival for several years by setting up a Mexican food booth with her Mexican and Irish parents, Natalio and Mary Rodríquez. She said the food and the unity between family is what she enjoys most about her culture. Rodríquez, who has never been to México but plans to in the future, decided to compete in the pageant for the first time this year.

The festival “allows everyone to really show who they are, what they represent,” Rodríquez said “This just allows everyone to have one week where they can just go at it, do the dancing, make the food and really be excited of who they are.”

Twenty-seven women from 12 nationalities competed to be elected queen or a member of the court. The court included third runner-up Victoria Colella, Hungarian descent; second runner-up Lauren Pressick, Italian descent; and first runner-up Wendy Kurianowicz, Hungarian descent.

After the parade, several of the Latina 2008 Lorain International Festival princesses representing either Puerto Rico or México gathered in a circle to discuss what representing their Latina ethnicity meant to them.

Melina Rosas, 17, represented her Puerto Rican heritage. “I feel very honored to represent Puerto Rico. It’s a beautiful island.” Rosas said she had an aunt and cousins that were also former International Festival princesses. Elizabeth Hernández, 17, also representing Puerto Rico said “I feel very proud to be able to show what I am. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”

Rosas and Hernández wore the traditional folkloric red and white dress of Puerto Rico with a poinsettia in their hair.

Marisol Arzuaga, 17, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, represented her Mexican culture this year. Arzuaga wore the “traje de charro,” a popular Mexican suit used by female Mariachis. Arzuaga said this experience has helped her learn more about her Mexican heritage.

Unlike other festivals of the state, the Lorain festival “celebrates our ethnicities and that’s really what our city was based on," said Lorain Mayor Anthony Krasienko. “We (Lorain) have a lot to offer and we want to show that to the people of Northeast Ohio.”

The mayor should know—he is of European descent and his wife, Melissa, is of Mexican and Puerto Rican origin.  







Web laprensa





«Tinta con sabor»     Ink with flavor!



Spanglish Weekly/Semanal

Your reliable source for current Latino news and events with English and Spanish articles.
Contact us at [email protected] or call (419) 870-6565



Culturas Publication, Inc. d.b.a. La Prensa Newspaper

© Copyrighted by  Culturas Publication, Inc. 2008