Hispanic Festival celebrates culture and encourages community to participate

September 13, 2012|By CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Armonia Latina performs at the 2011 Hagerstown Hispanic Festival. The Washington, D.C.-based band, which plays salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, regueton and other styles of music, returns to entertain the audience at this years festival at Fairgrounds Park.
File photo

Bright, colorful dancers. Bold, brassy music. Spicy flavors.

All this and more will be at the sixth annual Hagerstown Hispanic Festival, from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown.

This year's festival entertainment lineup will feature returning favorites and an exciting new act, according to event co-organizer Diana Reyes.

Armonia Latina, the Caribbean-South American band that drew raves at the 2011 festival, will return this year.

"This is their second year. Last year, they came for the first time and they were awesome," Reyes said. "They're from (Washington) D.C. and are very well known there."

She said the new act is a Bolivian dance troupe from Northern Virginia.

"There will be a parade of cultural dancers called Tinkus Wapurys Tiatico VA USA," Reyes said. "We've been trying to get them for years. They'll be marching around the fairgrounds."

Much about the festival will be the same. In addition to the headlining performers, local musicians and dancers will perform. Domingo Mencia, aka deejay Distrakshun, will introduce acts and speakers. Local Hispanic restaurants will sell food. A soccer tournament will take place. Dozens of community agencies will offer information about their services. And Hagerstown Police Department will demonstrate a K-9 team.

"Local performers include Ballet and All That Jazz, local Zumba demonstrators and the Hood Hop dance troupe," Reyes said. "The police department will have their K-9 show and a vehicle to go inside of."

Food will be offered by local restaurants El Taco Rico and El Paso. A new restaurant in Hagerstown. A new food vendor this year will be El Even Latino Grocery, which is developing ready-to-eat dishes.

"They are launching at our event, which is pretty cool," Reyes said.

The Hispanic Festival was originally organized in 2007 by Reyes and three friends — Sila Alegret-Bartel, Carlos Reyes, and Tom Arroyo. Reyes said additional people — Andy Smith, Wenda Castro and Beth Alegret — helped with this year's festival.

According to the festival's web site at www.hagerstownhis, the intent of the first Hagerstown Hispanic Festival was twofold — to host an event to bring local Hispanic people and cultures together, and to raise scholarship funds to support Hispanic students at Hagerstown Community College.

"All festival profits go for scholarships to Hagerstown Community College," Reyes said. "The major thing this year is all the scholarship recipients who received money from last year will come and speak, so people can put a face with the (money raised)."

But Reyes emphasized this festival is not just for the Hispanic community.

"This a free event with family-oriented activities," she said. "This is for everybody."

If you go ...       

WHAT: Sixth annual Hagerstown Hispanic Festival

WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16

WHERE: Fairgrounds Park, 420 N. Mulberry St., Hagerstown

COST: Free admission

CONTACT: Call Diana at 240-452-2723 or go to

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