By Katie Aguilar SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – A culturally-rich festival will take place in Central New York this weekend. The Syracuse Latino Festival, which first began in 1992, is back at Clinton Square this Saturday.
Fanny Villarreal, one of the founders of the festival, said the event is an opportunity to celebrate the Latino American cultures that are represented in Syracuse. Villarreal added that the event is family-friendly.
“To me the festival is an educational tool,” said Villarreal. “That we can utilize to teach and to showcase the culture, the music, the love. You know, we are very loving people. We are very welcoming.”
According to the 2010 Census, there are about 20 Latino American countries represented in Syracuse. Puerto Rico will be among the many Latino countries represented at the festival. Villarreal believes unity is important in the Latino community.
“What has happened in Puerto Rico to me is an amazing opportunity to show the whole entire world that when people are united for one goal, they can make it happen,” said Villarreal.
Another reason for the festival is to raise funds for the Aurelia Crespo and Carlos Lavezzari Latino Americano Scholarship. The scholarship, managed by Central New York Community Foundation, is for young Latinos who want to pursue a degree beyond high school.
“Every year we give one or two students a scholarship to further their education,” said Villarreal.
For this year’s festivities, there will be live performances from Charlie Cruz, Grupo Pagan, Lil Nazzy and many more. There will also be food, music, dancing and even a karaoke contest.
The Festival starts at noon and is free to the public.