War Memorial Park take on Hispanic flavor

September 26, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - About 300 people attended the Eastern Panhandle Hispanic Advocacy Coalition's first Hispanic Heritage Festival Saturday at War Memorial Park.

The new organization was formed to assist members of a growing Hispanic population in the community, coalition member and festival organizer Veronica Hall said.

Hall, who is from Argentina, moved to Shepherdstown, W.Va., three years ago and is employed with Nationwide Insurance and Financial Services as a bilingual insurance agent.


"It's a one-day event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month," said Hall, adding the national observance is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Many in attendance were from countries such as Mexico, Peru, El Salvador and Columbia, Hall said.

Several area Mexican restaurants donated free Mexican food, and a band called Los Amigos played live Latin music as festivalgoers danced.

Mercedes Ortega moved to Martinsburg from the Dominican Republic six years ago. She said the festival was a opportunity to make new friends and to network.

"This is really good," she said. "This will help people trying to find jobs and learn about health issues."

Branch Banking & Trust of Martinsburg was one of 24 vendors on hand offering products and services targeting the Hispanic community.

"We have tapes about emergencies, credit bureau and drivers license information," said Lorri Miller, a company relocation specialist.

The community is invited to hear Hispanic minister Armando Figueroa speak at Destiny Baptist Church in Martinsburg today at 4 p.m.

The Herald-Mail Articles