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Local weekend festivals showcase Latino culture
Whether you want to celebrate your Latin roots or immerse yourself in a new culture, there are two festivals this weekend in the Hudson Valley that offer a little something for everyone.
From noon to 7 p.m. this Saturday, July 21, the 17th Annual Latin American Festival will take place at Dutchess Stadium (1500 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls; 845-838-0094). The festival will feature a variety of family-friendly events and activities, including live music, arts and crafts, face painting and a bounce house. And of course there will be lots of food, too.
The event’s organizer, Eddie Ramirez, said the festival is centered around cultural and educational awareness. It's not only a celebration of Latin American culture, but also a fundraiser for the Hudson Valley Latino High School Scholarship Fund, which recognizes exceptional Latino high school seniors and assists with their college expenses.
Admission to the festival is free, but all donations go to scholarship fund.
Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla will continue with its cultural heritage series on Sunday, when the 31st Hispanic Heritage Festival will take place from noon to 7 p.m. (off the Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla; 914-328-1542; westchestergov.com). Last year nearly 15,000 attended the event, making it the largest Latin American celebration in Westchester County.
“The festival is all about showing off Hispanic culture and letting everyone see how much it has to offer,” said Lynne Smith, the publicity liaison for the event. Smith also noted that Westchester's Hispanic community includes people from more than two dozen countries.
Events at the Hispanic Heritage Festival will include live entertainment, arts and crafts, and salsa dancing. There will be international cuisine from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries and clothing and jewelry vendors selling their wares. Both admission to the festival and parking are free.