News Column

Latin Beats Downtown Streets at Calle Orange Festival

Oct. 29, 2012

Jon Busdeker, Orlando Sentinel

A grooving Latin band and its mesh of horns, conga drums and keyboard had a dozen couples salsa dancing on Orange Avenue on Sunday during the 14th annual Festival Calle Orange.

Stretching from Colonial Drive to just past Livingston Street, the yearly festival celebrates Hispanic food, music and culture and attracts thousands to downtown Orlando. Festival Calle Orange is the largest event of its kind in Central Florida.

For most of the day Sunday, music groups, from hip-hop to salsa to meringue, entertained crowds while food vendors sold traditional fare such as tostones (fried plantains) and fricase de pollo (a stewed chicken dish).

The sights, smells and the people at the festival had Arcadio Martinez, 62, comparing it to his home.

"I feel like I'm in Puerto Rico," Martinez said.

He and friend Lourdes Barron, 52, walked along Orange Avenue sipping beers and snapping photos. Martinez said they were having fun, especially earlier in the day when they had a chance to dance.

"If you got the rhythm, you go for it," Martinez said. "Music triggers you."

Source: (c)2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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