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Civic Engagement and Education Soapbox


The 2024 Iowa's Latino Heritage Festival Presents the Civic Engagement and Education Soapbox Qué Pasa Iowa?

Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival continues its efforts to connect Latinos to state and local candidates running for elected office and to ensure those candidates are listening to the largest minority group in Iowa.

This nonpartisan program within the festival provides a comfortable, familiar, and linguistically accessible space, via Facebook Live, for Latino voters and others to watch and listen to candidates and determine who will best represent their interest and can lead them into a better future.

To offer the most access to the event, the soapbox will be broadcasted via Facebook Live from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. on September 21th and 22th. Those who are interested in watching, whether live or recorded, can through

The bilingual podcast ¿Que Pasa Iowa? and its principal owner Claudia Thrane is a partner of the soapbox and will conduct and broadcast the candidate interviews.

For more information and for candidates who wish to participate, contact chairperson of the Civic Engagement and Education Soapbox Alba Perez at


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The exhibit includes many local Iowa Latino arts and crafts. There is photography, oils, acrylic paintings, sculptures, and performance art. These artists have come together to integrate their unique experience as Latino Iowans and which reflects an often-ignored segment of Iowa’s history.  The Iowa Latino Heritage Festival is proud to provide a platform for this creative voice to be heard!




Recognizing that food has been one of the most successful ways of sharing one’s culture, festival organizers have always intended to partner with diverse, quality food vendors representing the culinary traditions of Latin America. 


The Iowa Latino Heritage Festival has become a prime selling and marketing opportunity for all businesses involved. Food vendors have easily made back 9 to 10 times their investment and have received invaluable marketing exposure for their small businesses.



Another top draw among festival attendees, the cultural booths have come to represent most Latin American countries, providing audiences with a deeper cultural understanding of the nuance and diversity within the Latino community. 


One of the most prevalent comments is “I didn’t know their are so many Latin American people from so many different countries in Iowa!”  It has made us extremely proud to give populations of Latinos a voice and presence to celebrate and share their country’s heritage.

As people visit these cultural booths, they learn about dance, arts and crafts, food, language, customs, politics, demographics, celebrations, and so much more.  It is the type of information that enriches a student’s learning no matter the age, and one which equips all Iowa employees to understand the richness of diversity.




The activities in the children’s area help to accomplish a cultural exchange and affirmation that is not experienced by most children in school. Festival attendees each year say they value and appreciate the family-friendly environment of the festival. Activities range from jumping castles to pinata making. The vision of providing hands-on educational activities for children has guided the festival from the beginning. Last year there were more hands-on children’s activities than ever, and we hope to continue that for the 2019 festival.





The festival has always intended to provide its audience a quality and balanced array of information, products, and services through exhibitors.  Over the years, exhibitors ranging from professional business services, retail, churches, health and social agencies, to political parties have all taken an interest in reaching this untapped market.  We believe that the loyalty we have built with these exhibitors speaks to the value they see in participating in the festival.


Each year, over 90% of exhibitors return to display their products, to roll out a new initiative, to recruit bilingual employees, or simply to build brand awareness.  The demand from exhibitors has become so great in fact, that is has afforded us the luxury of being more selective in our exhibitors such that the best products and services are being presented to festival attendees.  In addition, we have been able to diversify our exhibitors to have a more regional reach.

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