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Latino festival gets kicks on Sunday

This year’s Latino Cultural Festival kicks off this Sunday — literally — with a Main Street soccer tournament that will be under way from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival, which is in its ninth year, is geared to “celebrate the heritage and traditions” of Hillsboro’s Latino community. It is a free public event held outdoors at the Hillsboro Civic Center plaza on Main Street in the downtown business district.

Other than the soccer tournament, most festival activities will take place between noon and 5 p.m. The festival’s short parade starts at noon on the lawn of the Washington County Courthouse, rolls down Main Street, loops around the block and then back to the plaza.

After the parade at noon, the main stage will feature a variety of entertainment, including the Huitzilin Cultural Group, which assists in the development of various traditional Aztec dance groups throughout the Northwest.

Another featured act is Una Voz (“One Voice”), a mariachi band created in 2010 by the Hillsboro School District’s Office of Equity to promote cultural understanding, community unity and music education.

Una Voz, which will be performing at the Latino Cultural Festival for the second year in a row, is open to all students in the Hillsboro School District at no charge. Currently, students from five different schools — Lincoln Street Elementary School, Evergreen Middle School, South Meadows Middle School, Hillsboro High School and Century High School — are members of the band, which is directed by Lincoln Elementary music teacher Dan Bosshardt.

“Each year we gain some new members,” said Bosshardt. “We’re looking for students who want to explore a culturally responsive musical opportunity. I’m proud of the kids.”

Una Voz will take the stage at 4:30 p.m.

Other festival highlights include professional roper Antonio Huerta; the Portland Timbers’ mascot, “Timber Joey”; and an interactive art village.

The Latino Community Festival is sponsored by the Greater Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Hillsboro.

“We partner with the city to put it on and manage it,” said Shelly Olsen, director of special events for the Chamber.

Deanna Palm, president of the Chamber, said the idea for the festival came out of the Hillsboro 2020 Vision project. In 1999, thousands of community members got together in a series of meetings to discuss what they wanted the community to be in 20 years, and the Latino Community Festival grew from that visioning process.

“They wanted to celebrate the Latino community,” Palm explained. “It took us a bit of time to get it launched.”

Olsen said about 1,500 revelers showed up for last year’s festival, and more are anticipated this year.

“It has expanded, but it kind of depends on the weather,” Olsen explained. “It’s all outdoors, but the exhibitors are tented, and there is a backup tent to put over the main stage if it rains.”

Palm pointed out that the festival draws a wide variety of citizens, and is not limited to Latinos.

“It’s really a nice mix of community members and a nice reflection of our community,” Palm said.

Palm conceded that the weather always plays a big role in turnout for outdoor festivals, and this year’s Latino Festival will be no exception.

“It’s April in Oregon, so we’re rolling the dice there,” she said. “But we invited everyone to come down and help celebrate and have a good time. Rain or shine, we will be there.”



Local Weather

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Hillsboro

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Humidity: 72%

Wind: 18 mph

  • 25 Oct 2014

    Rain/Thunder/Wind 60°F 47°F

  • 26 Oct 2014

    Showers 57°F 44°F