Festival Latinx in Kalamazoo celebrates culture, history with fun-filled event – MLive.com

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KALAMAZOO, MI – People in the community gathered late Saturday afternoon to partake and celebrate Latino culture and history.

For the first time ever, the Festival Latinx Kzoo 2022 was held Aug. 20, at Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo. The fun-filled event offered a chance to learn and embrace Latin American cultures.

The Festival Latinx Kzoo was put together by El Concilio, a nonprofit that seeks to help promote and support Latino communities. El Concilio was formerly called the Hispanic American Council, but changed their name in 2017.

“We just wanted to bring everyone together,” said Celestine Robles, administrative coordinator for El Concilio. “And bring awareness that El Concilio is here and part of the community.”

There were vendors at the event selling clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and more. Some shops sold items that were originally made in Latin American countries such as Mexico.

Some of the vendors even used their shop to help others. Hilda Hernandez decided to start La Boutique de Hilda after hearing stories of people who could not sell items they made on the streets, and struggled to find money.

“My mom started this shop to help people like that,” said Amy and Said León, Hilda’s children. “By taking the things they made and giving them the earnings back.”

There were also stalls that offered authentic Latin America foods and deserts. There was elote, which is roasted corn with mayonnaise, cotija molido cheese and spices like tajin.

Some people set up a booth to show crafts they have made, like Samantha Ascencio, who is making a tablecloth that represents a timeline of her family’s history.

“It’s my way of connecting with my culture,” Ascencio said. “By repurposing my family history and learning skills such as embroidery.”

Outside of vendors, there were fun activities for everyone to participate in. There was a mechanical bull for people to ride and a bouncy house for kids to jump in.

The event had live performances, from young and old Latin dancers to Zumba, which is a fitness program inspired by Latin dance. There was even a talent show for people to show off their skills.

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