Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival to draw thousands at weekend celebration of culture, community

For immediate release:
Sept. 22, 2017

DES MOINES, IA – Traditional Latin American foods, musical entertainment, children’s activities and much more await visitors to Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend this year’s festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.

“We’ll have beautiful weather for this first weekend of fall,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organizations that oversees the festival. “We’d encourage anyone from around the state to travel to Des Moines for this one-of-a-kind celebration and help us honor our Latin American culture and history.”

Master of Ceremonies is Fabiola Schirrmeister. She was born in Obregón, Sonora in Mexico. She has worked for WIPR radio Telemundo in Puerto Rico and was the host and producer of Azteca America Tucson. Schirrmeister now works for La Ley 105.5 FM radio in Des Moines.

What’s new:

The Parade of Nations will feature the U.S. and Iowa flags, along with 20 Latin American nations and Spain. The parade will take place during the opening ceremonies of the festival at 1 p.m. Saturday near the main stage, as well as a couple of other times during the festival.

“We wanted a way to showcase the colorful flags of all of the nations represented in Iowa,” Gonzalez said. “This will be an opportunity for those at the festival to see the colors of each country.”

The Latino Business Leadership Award will be presented to two individuals who are either a Latino(a) business leader or a businessperson who serves a predominantly Latino clientele. The names will be announced at the opening ceremonies.

Migration is Beautiful, a special initiative from the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries, will be at the festival. It speaks about how migration shaped Iowa’s history, first by the Native Americans and later by migration paths of immigrants from across the globe. Part of the website and display features Latinos and their contributions to Iowa’s economic, social and cultural history.

Scholarships and entertainment:

The festival will award seven high school and college youth with $1,000 scholarships. In addition, Affinity Credit Union will give a $1,000 scholarship to another youth. These scholarships will be presented at the opening ceremonies. The festival received between 40 and 50 scholarship applicants.

Shannon Rodriguez, a senior at Grand View University in Des Moines, is this year’s poster contest winner. She received a $1,000 scholarship for winning, and her design was used on the marketing materials

Attendees to this year’s festival will see traditional Latin American foods from countries that include Cuba, Brazil, Peru and Argentina. Children’s activities include mini soccer demonstrations, a piñata-breaking every hour, art activities, face painting at a cost and much more. The Des Moines Fire Department will be on site with a firetruck, and families can learn more about fire safety through the Fire Safety House. There will be a live art component, and veterans’ artwork will be featured in the art tent.

Chef Tania will give cooking demonstrations and show how to make healthy Latino meals. This year’s theme is “Bienvenidos a Costa Rica.” Demonstrations will take place at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. on the Saturday of the festival, and noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

“We wanted to offer something for everyone from our youngest to oldest visitors,” Gonzalez said.

Entertainment includes an elote (corn) eating contest at 6 p.m. Saturday, and the “Lucha Libre” wresting show where good guys take on bad guys. There will be musical entertainment and dancing all day long both days.

The cultural village will feature displays about the history of and artifacts from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Spain.

“These booths provide a deeper cultural understanding of the nuances and differences in the Latino community,” Gonzalez says.

Cost 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.

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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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Verizon IndyCar Series driver Gabby Chaves helps promote Latino Festival

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival co-hosted IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves at a meet-and-greet event this month.

Chaves, a native of Bogota, Colombia, has raced in the Verizon IndyCar Series for the past two seasons. In 2015, he had two top 10 finishes and was named Indy 500 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and IndyCar Rookie of the Year. At age 23, he is currently the youngest IndyCar driver and has had a successful start to his career with several championship titles including the 2014 Indy Lights Championship title, which graduated him to the next level of racing. He competed in the Iowa Corn 300 on July 10 in Newton with the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

“Gabby is a role model for the Latino community, especially our youth, and we were honored to help bring him to Des Moines and to receive his help in promoting our annual festival,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival.

The festival is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 24 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines. Between 10,000 and 20,000 people attend each year.

Activities include musical entertainment, folkloric dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, a health village, an art tent, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more. Cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger.

The festival will be promoted through social media sites Instagram and Facebook with #ialatinoheritagefestival.

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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Gabby Chaves signs autograph gabby chaves with Joe and Dave

2016 Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival moves to new location

DES MOINES, IA – This year’s Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival will move to a new venue: Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.

“We’re excited about this new location and to bring our event to more of the heart of the downtown Des Moines area,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organizations that oversees the festival.

This year’s festival, “A Cultural Celebration,” is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 24 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 25.

The Latino Heritage Festival is one of the most widely attended cultural events in Iowa, with between 10,000 and 20,000 people attending the two-day festival.

The festival includes various musical entertainment, dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, a health village, an art tent, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more.

This year’s festival will feature more local entertainment acts that include Los Jóvenes Embajadores and Los Ninos del Tepeyac folkloric dancers.

The festival will be promoted through social media sites Instagram and Facebook with #ialatinoheritagefestival.

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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