GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Hispanic Festival kicked off Friday at Calder Plaza, bringing food, music and culture to downtown Grand Rapids.
In addition to food and entertainment, the event was hosted by the children’s football tournament, which started at 11:00 am on Saturday. About 300 children aged 6 to 14 fought for victory.
Festival-goers were able to follow the tournament, strolling to 11 different vendors preparing traditional Venezuelan, Cuban and Puerto Rican food, as well as food from many other Hispanic cultures.
“We’re having a lot of fun partying, dancing and really celebrating diversity in culture. Because it’s not just a subset of Hispanic culture here in West Michigan, we have a … variety of different people from all over South America,” said Cesar Gonzalez, the Hispanic Festival’s chairman.
This year there is even more entertainment than in previous years. Musicians from all over the world including California, Texas and Chicago will perform, as well as some local acts.
Organizers said so many people turned up on Friday night that vendors sold out. However, they had now refilled and were ready for a full Saturday.
Evelyn Esparza, executive director of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, said the event is important to the organization.
“This is the most important fundraiser for the Hispanic center, so we rely on funding from this event to continue programs that are not necessarily covered by our grants or sponsorships for other programs,” Esparza said. “So this is critical to enable the center to continue doing what it is meant to do in our community.”
That Hispanic festival runs Saturday evening until 11:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.