Latino Festival returns to Ky

by Alex Ruf

This weekend the 8th annual “Festival Latino de Lexington” takes place at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza located in downtown Lexington.

This year’s Festival Latino de Lexington will be free to the public and feature traditional cuisine, dance, art crafts , live music, and a “Carnival” Parade.

“Under the current government’s budget situation this event would not be possible without businesses and sponsors funding the event,” Alana Insko, special events director of Parks and Recreation, said.

Each day has a different theme. Friday’s theme is Caribbean and festivities will feature free dance lessons, similar to the salsa dancing lessons at the Martin Luther King Cultural Center.

“The highlight of the weekend is the Carnival Parade” Irene Jarmin, the director of this year’s festival said.

Saturday will be focused more on Latin America, particularly Brazil. The parade echoes the traditional Brazilian Carnival and will feature floats and performers from different countries. Miss Kentucky Latina will also be on one of the floats along with many organizations associated with the Latino culture of Kentucky.

The parade starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday. and will travel down Main Street.

Other activities feature presentations from Latino countries, held by different groups exhibiting their culture through dance and clothing. These presentations will feature local dance groups and schools. Countries presented will be Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

The Bluegrass Youth Ballet is also scheduled to perform on Saturday. Last year they dressed in traditional Mexican garb during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and performed a traditional Mexican dance.

Throughout the weekend local artisans will be selling their goods at the festival. The shops will feature authentic Hispanic crafts.

For a sampling of Latino America, look no further than downtown.