“We have people coming from five or six different states coming to our festival because it really is that unique,” said Adrianne Chasteen, festival co-chair. “The festival’s been going on so long now, it’s really nice that people in other states really look forward to coming to it.”
This is the first time that organizers have attempted to stage the festival during Labor Day weekend. The festival traditionally has been held in early June. A three-day holiday weekend and the recent trend of “staycations” may help boost attendance.
“One good thing about having it at Promenade Park is there is plenty of lodging nearby,” said Ms. Chasteen. “I know there are lots of things going on in the area that weekend, so if they come to the festival, they’ll definitely find something to do on Sunday as well if they wanted to make a weekend out of it.”
In addition to the Selena Tribute, musical entertainment at the festival will include: DJ Javi, Jacob Estrada and Los Mariachis Locos, Chicago-based Radio Free Honduras (rock and Latin folk), and Bachata Flow (bachata and tropical, from North Carolina).
A northeast Ohio dance group called Grupo Tepehuani Nelli will present spectacular indigenous Aztec dancing.
The family-friendly aspect of the festival is Ms. Chasteen’s favorite part of the event each year, especially the children’s craft area. The Toledo Museum of Art will bring a portion of its special Video Games as Art exhibit with an interactive display and Mario from the Super Mario Bros. games will be on hand in costume to meet and greet kids. Imagination Station will be science-themed interactive activities as well. The Toledo Zoo will have a children’s petting zoo on hand.
There will also be various art and craft projects by the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center, OLA, and the Home Depot. Additional activities include Spark’s All-Star competitive teams, which will perform dance and cheer routines.
“The kids area is continuously growing and gets the family involved,” said Ms. Chasteen. “That’s important, because instead of it just being an evening of entertainment, there are things available for the entire family, especially kids, not just for the older crowd.”
Ms. Chasteen credited the festival committee with pulling together the entire day’s events and entertainment, especially because there are fewer people involved this year—including Linda Parra of Nuestra Gente; Linda Alvarado-Arce, director of the city of Toledo’s Board of Community Relations; La Prensa editor Rico Neller; and Carmen Barbosa of the Spanish American Organization (SAO).
“It’s nice to know we’re coming out stronger than ever,” she said. “We’ve actually had to turn some vendors away.”
MidWest LatinoFest sponsors include: Presenting sponsor Lourdes University and major sponsors First Federal Bank, TARTA, McDonalds, Corona, Spanish American Organization (SAO), and La Prensa/La Revista.
Media Partners include: Nuestra Gente Community Projects, Inc., TRE, Inc., Toledo Free Press, WBGU-FM, 13-abc, www.midwesttejanoradio.com, and SGI Images.