Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival boasts successful event, releases 2017 dates

For immediate release

Sept. 27, 2016

DES MOINES, IA – Organizers of Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival say a new location for the 2016 event proved popular among attendees, and the festival will return to the same site for 2017.

The 15th annual festival was last weekend at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines. Early numbers indicate attendance was up even though the festival had to close early Saturday night because of inclement weather.

The festival will return to Western Gateway Park on Sept. 23 and 24, 2017.

“We were very impressed and very happy with the new venue,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees the festival. “Many, many attendees thanked us and said it was the best location we’ve ever had for the festival.”

Other new aspects of the festival also were highly received. The art tent with interactive displays kept visitors entertained. Festival organizers will build upon this for the 2017 event.

This was the second year for the civic engagement booth, where there was information about how to register to vote, how voting works, voters’ rights issues, and about the candidates. Several candidates participated in the political soapbox.

There were almost a dozen countries represented at the festival in the cultural pavilion. Organizers hope to draw even more country representatives next year to continue with the festival’s tradition of honoring the contributions all Latin countries have made to Iowa.

“We had another successful festival, and we look forward to finding ways to improve it for next year,” Gonzalez said.

The theme for next year’s festival and details about the annual poster contest will be announced in spring 2017.

Gonzalez said festival organizers wanted to thank everyone who attended and especially the event sponsors.

“We could not hold a cultural event of this magnitude without the support of the community and our sponsors,” he said.

Gold level sponsors are: Bravo Greater Des Moines, Nationwide Insurance and Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel.

Silver level sponsors are: Dupont Pioneer, Polk County Supervisors, Principal Financial Group and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Bronze level sponsors are: Billion Auto, Des Moines Area Community College, Faegre Baker Daniels, Meredith Corp., Wartburg College and Wells Fargo.

Friends of the festival are: Amerigroup, Bankers Trust, CenturyLink, David Brown Law Firm, Des Moines Metro Credit Union, Federal Home Loan Bank, Frito-Lay, Greater Iowa Credit Union, Hola Iowa, Iowa Beverage, John Deere and Veridian Credit Union.

For more information, visit www.latinoheritagefestival.org, or contact Melissa Walker at 515-681-7731 or mwmediaconsultants@yahoo.com. Visit Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook and #ialatinoheritagefestival on Instagram.

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Art exhibits become interactive at Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival

For immediate release

Sept. 21, 2016

DES MOINES, IA – Artists will create live pieces of work at Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival, which begins this weekend in downtown Des Moines.

The traditional outdoor festival gallery display will be reinvigorated with a focus on live interaction with artists. Highlights include:

  • Emerging graffiti artist Anthony Desantiago will paint the word “LIFE” to represent his journey of the ups and downs of life through a connection with graffiti.
  • Jose Marentes-Gonzalez is a familiar face at the festival and will return this year with his energy and cultural history. His paintings will be on display, but he will demonstrate his print-making skills and how he uses them to communicate with today’s youth through mentorship programs.
  • Youth from Al Exito mentoring program will work with Marentes-Gonzalez on a large mural during the two days of the festival.
  • Aaron Martinez will paint the third piece from his “Liberty” series, which concentrates on cultural impacts and the conceptual symbolism of diversity in westernized thinking.

“This gives me a chance to show the process that artists usually keep behind closed doors,” Martinez said. “I start with a minimal concept but submerge myself within the overall surrounding energies to create my final piece.”

There also will be a small gift show of artwork for sell by local Latin artisans. These will include oil and acrylic paintings, prints and crafts.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in Western Gateway Park near the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. There is free parking in Nationwide Insurance’s public parking ramp.

Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival includes various musical entertainment, dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more. There also will be a health village and a civic engagement booth, where attendees can register to vote and learn about candidates.

Cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. For more information, visit www.latinoheritagefestival.org, or contact Melissa Walker at 515-681-7731 or mwmediaconsultants@yahoo.com. Visit Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook and #ialatinoheritagefestival on Instagram.

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Brazilian Moves shows the WOI morning team dance moves

The Latino Heritage Festival was on WOI this morning to talk about the 2016 festival. While there, Brazilian Moves, one of our performers, showed the morning team some dance moves.

See the video here: http://www.weareiowa.com/onlocal5/latino-heritage-festival-2017-promises-food-fun-and-culture

Latino Festival to offer children’s activities at Downtown Farmer’s Market booth, attend Monarch event at Blank Park Zoo

monarch-festival1 monarch-festival2DES MOINES, IA – Children can make their own poster for Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival at the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

Representatives from the Latino Festival will have a booth in the community corner area near Third Street south of Court Avenue. They will share information and answer questions about this year’s festival, which is Sept. 24 and 25.

Children will be able to create their own festival poster at the booth. Each year, the promotional materials for the festival feature the design of an Iowa college or university student. This year U.S. Army veteran Aaron Martinez, who also will work on a piece of live artwork at the festival, designed the poster. Posters from previous years will be on display to serve as an inspiration for children’s artwork.

The Latino Heritage Festival also will help sponsor this year’s Monarch Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Blank Park Zoo. The festival celebrates the monarch’s journey from Canada through Iowa to Mexico.

“We are excited to be part of both of these events and to help celebrate the travels of the monarch butterflies as they return to Mexico,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees the Latino Heritage Festival. “Legend says the butterflies’ arrival in Mexico is symbolic of the souls of our ancestors returning home.”

The Latino Heritage Festival takes place at Western Gateway Park. It includes various musical entertainment, dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more.

There also will be a health village; a civic engagement booth; and an expanded artwork display that will continue to showcase the work of veterans but also young Latinos and Latinas’ art, as well as live art.

Cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. For more information, visit www.latinoheritagefestival.org, or contact Melissa Walker at 515-681-7731 or mwmediaconsultants@yahoo.com. Visit Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook and #ialatinoheritagefestival on Instagram.

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