Article & Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver/America Media (see photo gallery below)
The weather was perfect for the second annual Colorado Latino Festival in Longmont, Colorado. The mid seventies temperatures brought out thousands to enjoy a day of great entertainment, great Latin cuisine, fun loving people and an all around great day to celebrate Latin culture. Latin Life Denver/America Media was pleased to serve a a media sponsor again this year.
The free event focused on UNITY, a theme adopted this year to bring communities together in celebration. Longmont is home to a large Latino population and promter Jose D. Beteta, who also is the Executive Director of the Boulder Latino Chamber of Commerce said he wanted the city of Longmont to once again be the epicenter of Latino culture for a day. Beteta told Latin Life Denver/America Media that the attendance for this year’s event was more than double last year’s debut of the Colorado Latino Festival.
There was entertainment on two stages and sometimes a third or fourth improvisational stage would break out in the streets. Artists and vendors represented Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, other Latin American countries and the U.S. More than 40 performers entertained the crowds. And what would a Latino festival be without a few low riders to admire. The contributions of Latino women were also celebrated by honoring Coloradoan heroines voted by people in a survey.
To show a commitment to community health, this year’s festival did not include sugary beverages. The sugary drink industry has disproportionately targeted Latinos, especially Latino youth, in advertising and marketing campaigns for years. This has factored into diabetes and other health disparities taking a significant toll on Boulder County’s Latino community.
Betata said last year the festival had 101 vendors participating. This year the festival has signed up 30 more than last year. Participants were exposed to thousands of attendees from all over Colorado and sponsors benefited from the extensive media attention that the festival generated, reaching over 2.5+ million unique individuals. Media coverage and sponsors will included Boulder Weekly, Denver Post, Latin Life Denver/ America, Telemundo, 9News, Longmont Times-Call and more.
The community was invited to learn and participate in different activities for youth and adults, sponsor booths allowed participants to obtain information about Latino resources and organizations.
The website for the event stated “The festival comes at a crucial moment in U.S. history where census data shows the significant contributions of Latinos to the economy, various economic development sectors, and the social fabric of most cities and states. These contributions, coupled with the current volatile political climate and views of Latinos in general, can create division and resentment. Data shows disparity between Latinos and Anglos related to education, income, health and civic participation, where Latino numbers lag behind their Anglo counterparts. The goal of this event is to address the aforementioned problems and the festival itself will serve as an empowering event that will jolt the Latino community into more active roles in those areas.This event also comes at a crucial time when the City of Longmont is discussing the possibility of a Sanctuary City policy adoption.”
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latinb Life Denver/America Media