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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Hagerstown's First Annual Hispanic Festival Coming This Month

Hagerstown's First Annual Hispanic Festival Coming This Month
by Jennifer LB Leese

Hagerstown's first annual Hispanic Festival is sure to be the best ethnic fiesta in the area.
The four members of the Hispanic Committee became friends and together decided to do something positive for the Hispanic community. "We are very much involved in our culture," said Diana Reyes, event sales and talent show coordinator. "And it feels great."
The festival is scheduled for Sunday, September 16 from Noon to 6pm at the Fairgrounds Park of Hagerstown.
"I think a Hispanic Festival is important for our community because it symbolizes how much we have grown in the last couple of years. Hagerstown is becoming more diverse every day and that diversity is only going to get stronger. We have many different cultures in this community now, and it is time to celebrate that. A lot of Hispanic people feel lonely and unwanted, and I feel that this festival will be a great annual event where people can meet each other, where Hispanic businesses can shine, and where the Hispanic roots can unite to show support for one another. This event is very important for me and for the people involved in its planning because it is a great symbol of our unifying and dedication for our community," says Diana Reyes, whose father brought her and her youngest sister to the United States when she was eight. "They can dance, eat, play, and indulge with their own people!"
Reyes went on to say that taking part in the area's first Hispanic festival feels very much like a celebration of her roots and heritage. "My culture is very much a part of me and any chance I get to celebrate that, believe me, I will! All Hispanic people are the same way. We love being Hispanic. We are grateful to this country for all the great opportunities and chances that it has allowed us, but everyone knows - you never forget where you come from."
The Hispanic community in Hagerstown is growing. The population has more than doubled in the past seven years. According to the United States Census Bureau the Hispanic population in Washington County grew by 17.7 percent since 2005. The bureau estimates are provided through data based on the county's Hispanic population, which includes people from all racial groups, defining Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race. In 2006, 2,976 Hispanic people lived in Washington County. They also believe the increase is because the cost of living is cheaper than in big cities.
Those involved in putting together the festival feels that Hagerstown has been missing this kind of celebration for quite some time and hope to bring all our cultures together in one day.
The festival will include "an array of vendors with plenty of information for attendees to take, such as business, government agencies, non-profit organizations and food vendors that will sell different Latin American foods and drinks. There is going to be a band and a DJ," says Sila Alegret-Bartel, general information contact. In addition to the mentioned, there will also be face-painting, games, talent show, balloons, music, food, and a soccer tournament.
Thomas Seward Arroyo, vendor director, says this will be an "unforgettable day for everyone involved." With soccer being an extremely popular sport worldwide and talent shows a regular addition to celebratory events, Hagerstown's First Annual Hispanic Festival is no exception. There will be an adult soccer tournament as well as a youth tournament. Monetary prizes will be awarded as well as trophies and donated prizes from sponsors and vendors at the festival. Soccer teams are coming from Chambersburg, Martinsburg, Frederick, Hagerstown, and Williamsport.
The festival is sponsored by the Hagerstown Community College, and co-sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, LaVOZ Latina, and HBP Printing and Graphics.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Hagerstown Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The festival is a great opportunity to promote your business and reach out to the Hispanic community. It provides a chance to enjoy Hispanic American food, music, dance, and games. If you are interested in taking part in this momentous event, call CAR-REY Soccer Academy at 301-582-1471 or email carreysoccer@aol.com for information on getting your hands on a registration form.
"Being that this is our First Hispanic Festival in Hagerstown, we would love to have all the Hispanic communities from the tri-state area, including communities from Brazil, Jamaica, Asia, and Haiti," said Arroyo.
The following committee members, all of whom speak both English and Spanish, may be contacted for more information about the festival: Diana Reyes 240-217-5119 diana_R@hagerstowncc.edu; Tom Seward Arroyo 301-790-2800 x316 sewardt@hagerstowncc.edu, Sila Alegret-Bartel 301-526-7468 sila@ICTMLLC.com and Carlos Reyes 240-472-1164 carreysoccer@aol.com. Also see www.eventbrite.com/event/67770704 and www.mahcc.org for more information.

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