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On September 22nd (one day only!), the Dayton region once again invites those of Hispanic Heritage to come and share their cultures not only with one another, but with the community as a whole at the 12th Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival to be held at Riverscape from noon to 11:00 p.m. Past festivals have drawn 10,000-15,000 attendees; but, this year, the organizers hope to increase participation, as proceeds go to help the community as a whole.
This and other fundraisers throughout the year help the Puerto-Rican, American and Caribbean Organization (PACO) to reinvest in the community as a whole. At Thanksgiving, the organization provides food baskets to local families through St. Mary’s church and toys to area children on Three Kings’ Day in early January. Additionally, the organization provides microloans to small businesses, with the hopes that business owners will in turn pay the kindness forward, once their own businesses are established.
Whether you come out to the festival to share your Hispanic cultural heritage, to learn about other countries, to support a good cause or simply to enjoy some good food, good music, and good times, a variety of entertainment awaits you! Bands representing various countries’ cultures and coming from as far as Cleveland to perform will be playing to an audience that can simply sit and listen or can choose to get up and dance! Dance troupes will also perform various traditional dances, including the Gujo Mexicano (Mexican Pride) and the Grupo Caribe (Carribean Group) which will represent Puerto Rican cultural dances.
Foods from Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru, among others will also be available, and vendors will be selling crafts from the various countries as well as flags and t-shirts. For kids, volunteers from Wright State University and Central State University will offer loads of free activities, from face painting to games.
In addition to the festival, PACO organizes other fundraisers throughout the year including a Wine Tasting on September 1st to be held at the Therapy Café on Third Street – this will end with a wine auction which will also include the auctioning of a homemade flan, a special dessert that will also be available during the tasting as well. In addition, PACO members DJ 70’s and 80’s music some Thursdays at the Therapy Café as an additional means of raising funds for the organization’s many community-related causes.
For more information on the organization and its many events, go to: www.paco-latino.org.