Celeste Conn

Celeste Conn

Nanaimo’s Latin American Festival shares culture and heritage with community

NANAIMO - Latin American Society of Nanaimo hosts annual Latin American Festival Saturday (Sept. 24) at Beban Park.

Whether you come alone or with a group of friends, you will still feel like part of a family when you attend the Latin American Festival, says Dennise Torres, director of the Latin American Society of Nanaimo Dance Group.

“It’s such a nice event, you don’t need to know somebody to come,” she said. “Everyone sits with each other and everyone dances with each other, from kids to grandparents. It’s a big family.”

The Latin American Festival is Saturday (Sept. 24) from 5-11 p.m. at Beban Park social centre.

Torres said attending the annual event is like getting a free passport to many Latin American countries in one day.

The society’s dance group, which features dancers from age three to adults, will perform folk dances from Chile, Honduras, Cuba, Bolivia, the Polynesian Islands and more.

The event also features performances by Brisas del Palmar, from Cuba; Victoria’s Viva Mexico; Gaby Blue from Mexico and Nanaimo’s DJ Javier.

It includes food from various countries, which people can purchase separately from each food booth.

The organization started gathering to celebrate and share Latin American culture six years ago. It started small and events were held in people’s homes with about 50 people attending. Eventually the group moved to the Departure Bay Kin Hut and then the Departure Bay Activity Centre.

Torres said members of the organization created the event because they felt it was important to help their children maintain their culture and also share it with friends and the community.

Advance tickets to the Latin American Festival are $15 for adults and $8 for teens and are available by e-mailing latinos_

nanaimo@hotmail.com or calling 250-797-4911.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for teens at the door. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/Latinamericansocietyofnanaimo/.