Ohio picks up the beat on Latino celebrations
By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press
CINCINNATI, Sept. 14, 2011 (AP): Ohio's celebrations and observances of Hispanic Heritage Month are growing along with its Latino population.
Organizers say more major events have been scheduled in the state for national heritage month that begins Sept. 15 than ever before. They range from a mass salsa dance on Cincinnati's Fountain Square on Thursday to a statewide Hispanic Business Summit in Columbus next month.
Ohio State University and Miami University are among state schools hosting major events, and Middletown's annual international festival will focus on Peru this year. The Cincinnati Reds baseball team will highlight Hispanic players and culture at Thursday night's game.
Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport planned to salute Hispanic heritage Wednesday afternoon with a program including music, art and ethnic food and a talk by Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock-Hernández.
Small but fast-growing, Ohio's Latino population increased in the 2010 Census to 3.1 percent of statewide population, up from 1.9 percent in 2000.
The salsa dance Thursday night will aim to get into the Guinness Book of World Records with 600 or more dancing couples at once, organizers say. There will also be education, arts and business events throughout the month in Ohio. Latino and non-Latino business leaders from around the state will gather Oct. 13 at Ohio State University for a summit featuring Javier Palomarez, chief executive of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and former Cincinnati Bengals' Hall of Fame football player and businessman Anthony Muñoz.
Venezuela-born Reds player Miguel Cairo said he has enjoyed a warm reception in his two years in Ohio.
``I see a lot of Latins here,'' he said. ``When you go out they recognize you. It's been great.''
Contact Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell