One community. One heart. One beat.
This was the tagline for the 8th Annual Corazón Latino Festival that took place Friday, April 7, on East Main Street in downtown Johnson City.
The event drew a crowd of several hundred people who wandered down E. Main Street taking in the vibrant sights, upbeat sounds and delicious smells of Latino culture.
Among the crowd was ETSU junior Nicolas Mireles, a Texas native, who felt that the event reminded him of home.
“As soon as we walked in and heard the loud music and saw everyone dancing it really just felt like being back in San Antonio and reminded me of spending time with my family,” Mireles said.
The festival was organized by the Language and Cultural Resource Center along with several other organizations including ETSU’s Hispanic American Student Community Alliance and the Student Government Association.
To highlight the unique connection of the Latino community in the Appalachian region, a variety of booths featured art, clothing, instruments and a variety of beautiful traditions from various Latin American countries.
Attendees were free to roam through booths representing countries from Mexico to Venezuela to Chile. Mireles was pleased that the event highlighted the Latin American community.
“It was nice to see other cultures represented in Johnson City,” Mireles said.
Similarly, Kayla Davis, vice president of ETSU’s Anthropology Club, felt that the event was a great educational opportunity for the Johnson City community.
“I think it’s really important, especially in this area, to experience other cultures whether through music or food or dancing that are different than the norm. It’s just a great education opportunity,” Davis said.
A crowd favorite at the event were the dance lessons, which drew many participants and onlookers.
As upbeat latin music played over the loud speakers, attendees young and old practiced moving their hips to the rhythm and got into the true spirit of latin dance.
Meanwhile, the smells of perfectly seasoned meat and sweet churros lured dozens of attendees to wait in line at the many food trucks that came to serve up a taste of Latin America.
For Mireles, the food was a welcome reminder of home.
“The supreme burrito I had was amazing but what I really liked were the refried beans. In this area I never get refried beans that are that authentic but these were amazing,” said Mireles.
Rounding out the many colorful and tasty booths was a whole side street of informational booths about awareness and prevention of health issues.
Many topics were addressed among these booths from prenatal education to glucose screening to food bank information.
All in all, the event was a huge success as it accomplished its ultimate goal of bringing the Latino community together with the Appalachian community. To learn more about the Language and Cultural Resource Center visit http://www.etsu.edu/cas/lcrc/.