Latin Grammy-winning musicians, authentic Latin cuisine and cultural performances from local groups will headline the Hispanic League’s 27th annual Fiesta in downtown Winston-Salem on Sept. 14.

The first event in 1992 was held along the Arts District in downtown Winston-Salem and drew about 800 attendees. Now, Fiesta is spread throughout downtown, drawing up to 25,000 people. It is also considered the largest one-day Hispanic festival in the region.

Mari Jo Turner, executive director of the Hispanic League, says it’s an opportunity to showcase the cultural differences between the 22 Latin countries that are represented at Fiesta.

“Even though they share the same language, each can highlight cultural characteristics through food, art, music, crafts and dance,” she says.

Fiesta highlights include:

  • A Flag of Our Heritage Parade that kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
  • Zumbathon at 10 a.m. in front of the Protege Main Stage.
  • A naturalization ceremony at 11 a.m. at Hanesbrands Theatre
  • Entertainment on three stages throughout the day.
  • Children’s area with inflatables, piñatas and entertainment at Winston Square Park.
  • Youth dance groups from three (Winston-Salem Forsyth County) schools will perform Hispanic folkloric dances.
  • The Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and the Sawtooth Center for Visual Art are open for exhibits, sugar skull painting and salsa lessons at 3:30 p.m.

Pat Gardea, the Fiesta Entertainment chairwoman and former Hispanic League board member and president, says Fiesta brings the entire community together. She and her husband, Ray, are among the 400 volunteers it takes to run the festival.

“We just really enjoy seeing it come to fruition every year and meeting new people and seeing how much the people really enjoy it,” she says. “Hispanics within the community also learn from each other and appreciate each other.”

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