Embracing culture at Festival Latino

Hope Schulte, News Writer

Authentic food, music, clothing and dance. These aspects of celebration came to downtown Cedar Rapids on September 15 during the eighth annual Festival Latino.

Xavier High School students participated for the first time in the Festival Latino. Festival Latino was a part of the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which started on  September 15 and ends on October 15. The Young Parents Network (YPN) was one of the main groups sponsoring the event. YPN focuses on events that support Cedar Rapids families. Alongside Festival Latino, YPN also hosts the Eastern Iowa Diaper Drive in October. 

At the festival, Xavier students operated a booth where they distributed Our Lady of Guadalupe prayer cards. Sra. Victoria Hoffman, Xavier’s Spanish Club moderator, stated that it was a great way to have the students be involved in the community.

“This year was exciting because Xavier had a presence there,” Hoffman said. 

Group of Xavier students pose for a picture at the Festival Latino on September 15 in downtown Cedar Rapids. Ms. Vicki Hoffman Photo.

Festival Latino allows the people attending the event to be able to immerse themselves into the Latin American culture by eating food from other countries, enjoying live music and dancing. 

“My favorite part of the festival was trying all of the food because I loved getting to try authentic Hispanic food I had never heard of before,” junior Stephanie Allen said. “The best thing I tried was a sweet drink called horchata. It was absolutely amazing and I would love to try to make it at home someday.” 

Hoffman also added how ecstatic she was about the variety of music and dances available at the festival. She also touched on the wonderful opportunity to meet others. 

“I loved speaking to everybody that was there. Hoffman said. “I spoke to people from Cuba, Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Honduras.” 

Both Allen and Hoffman commented they would love for the Xavier student body to attend Festival Latino next year.