Aiming to showcase the diversity of the Latino community, the seventh annual Latino Festival of Hightstown-East Windsor is scheduled for Aug. 24 at Rocky Brook Park in Hightstown Borough.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 1 p.m. and run until 6 p.m. at the park that is located at 170 Bank St. Parking is free.
The goal of the festival is to show off the many musical and cultural traditions of the Latino community, said Carlos Fernandez of the Hightstown Latino Cultural Committee.
“The focus is on trying to put a human face and an artistic face to Latinos in our region,” Fernandez said.
“We want to make sure our children gain an appreciation and understanding of our heritage and cultural traditions,” he explained.
To that end, festival-goers can listen to musicians and watch dance groups from countries ranging from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru to Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala.
Among the performers are Marimba Sonoro Verapaz of Guatemala, and Herencias and Yachak Kallari, both of Ecuador, and the internationally known group Sonora Dinamita, Fernandez said.
The stage design for the festival features the work of Ecuadorian artist Pablo Pinto. He has developed new props to be unveiled at the event, Fernandez said.
“We use the festival as a way to bring the community together,” Fernandez said. “There are a lot of people from Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico, among others. We want to bring them all together.”
But the festival is not just about music and dancing. There will be educational exhibits, arts and crafts activities, and food for sale.
The seventh annual Latino Festival is being organized by the Hightstown-East Windsor Latino Festival Committee with support from RISE, A Community Service Partnership, Wells Fargo Bank and other business and community organizations.
The Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission is supporting the event through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council of the Arts/Department of State, which is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.