Free Family Event Packed With Entertainment On September 17
To celebrate the fast-growing Latino population in Cedar Hill, the city is hosting its inaugural LatinFest on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Valley Ridge Park. The free event will run from 2-9 p.m. and will feature live music, kids activities, a vendor expo and more.
When the census came out and the city received the information that 26% of the population of Cedar Hill was Latino, Michelle Hernandez, Destination Marketing Manager for the City of Cedar Hill, said she wanted to find a way to celebrate the second highest demographic of Cedar Hill.
“As a Latina, I felt the best way to do this was to design a family friendly festival that sets itself apart, a celebration that was about not just one country, but the diversity of countries and cultures that are represented in Cedar Hill,” she said.
“The event is the first public event that has ever been created and executed by our tourism department, so the pressure has been elevated. I wanted to have an event that had the ‘standard’ music and vendors that are normally at a festival, but with a twist.”
So, Hernandez presented the idea to her director and the city manager. From there the city council was so impressed they made it part of their Latino Engagement Initiative.
“Our department has been working with the newly formed Latino Engagement Group that is comprised of a handpicked group of people by the mayor to help give feedback and opinions as the voice of the Latino community in Cedar Hill,” Hernandez said.
Education + Entertainment
Something that will set LatinFest apart, Hernandez said, is there will be information boards that display facts about the 15 highlighted Latin American countries to educate attendees. Also, entertainment will be diverse from different countries/cultures, a passport souvenir book will help vendor booths with visitation, and lastly, the hot sauce contest promises to be the first of its kind (that they are aware of, Hernandez chuckled) in South Dallas County.
Attendees can vote for their favorite hot sauce, red and green, for the People’s Choice awards from 3-5 p.m.
“Community and city employees have excelled the last few months working hand in hand to bring LatinFest to life,” she said.
“It’s important to embrace diverse cultures throughout the Cedar Hill community. In spirit of fellowship, dance, music, food and more, I’m excited to host our first annual LatinFest in Cedar Hill,” Mayor Stephen Mason said.
Among the vendors are some booths that are hiring on the spot to provide job opportunities to attendees, Hernandez said. There will also be food trucks, and there is a kid zone area with inflatables and its own sand pit.
Live performances include:
2 p.m.: Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli (Heart of the Warrior Aztec Dancers).
3 p.m.: Mariachi Arriago de America.
4 p.m.: Flamenco Fever.
5 p.m.: Fusion Latina.
6:30 p.m.: Selena Forever Tribute Band.
“We hope to continue this event to highlight different countries each year and grow the event in size and time to entice locals as well as visitors from out of the area to come together to celebrate,” Hernandez said. “We appreciate the support of our generous sponsors that have taken the leap of faith to support this new event in the city and have been vital to make this event possible.”