The local Latino community will come together in downtown Scranton this
weekend to celebrate the richness of its culture and promote unity with the
region's broader population.
On Saturday and Sunday, the seventh annual Scranton Latin Festival will be held at Lackawanna County Courthouse Square. Representatives of 20 or so Latin countries who reside in Northeast Pennsylvania will attend the event, which will kick off with a parade Saturday beginning at noon in Courthouse Square.
The festival will include plenty of Latino food, music, dancing and art, as well as information tables dedicated to issues like civil rights, gang awareness, drugs and alcohol, health care, education and employment.
"It gets bigger and bigger as it goes," said festival co-organizer Blanca Fernandez of the event. "More people keep joining every year."
"This Latin forum is really about getting the Latin community to get out and know the community better," said festival collaborator Angel Jirau, founder and executive director of the local group SALSA (Spanish American Leaders Serving All). "It's about coming together and forgetting differences of race, religion, income. You come to be entertained, but also to be informed."
Event sponsors and participants include the University of Scranton, Lackawanna College Police Academy, Scranton Police Department, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Penn State Worthington Scranton, Spanish language newspaper La Voz Latina and a number of businesses.
Performers and demonstrators at the festival will include Grupo Weepa, Allan Souza, Fernando and Tatiana, The Santos, the Step Team, Scranton Break Dancers, Milka, Arsenal Soccer Demo, El Socra, DJ Dice, Chiquil and Dominican Dance Troupe.
Food will be provided by Garibaldi, Vera, United Pentecostal Latin American Church, Marilyn's Courthouse Cafe, Oaxaca and What the Fork food truck.
Last year, proceeds from the festival were donated to the Scranton Police Department's K9 unit. This year, proceeds will go toward a college scholarship fund for local Latino students.
"We're trying to educate. That's our mission, to educate people," Ms. Fernandez said. "The objective is to learn, to hopefully eradicate the ignorance, for people to know something more than when they stepped in."
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If you go
What: Seventh annual Scranton Latin Festival
Where: Lackawanna County Courthouse Square
When: Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
Details: For more information, visit the festival's Facebook page.
(c)2013 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)
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