Baile Folklorico

Dancers in traditional costume will perform Saturday at the city’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration in Central Park. The event also features musicians and Latin dance instruction. (File photo/southernminn.com)

Organizers say this year’s fourth annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration will be bigger than ever.

The festival has outgrown its roots in the Northfield Public Library and has moved to Central Park, said Angelica Linder, outreach coordinator for the library. 2019’s event drew about 1,200 attendees.

“It has become a community event, not just a library program,” Linder said.

Linder said the festival came into being because there were no other major events that celebrated Hispanic culture, and the timing coincides with the national Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

It serves a dual cultural purpose: awareness of the Hispanic way of life among non-Hispanic residents of the Northfield area, and pride in that way of life among the Hispanic residents themselves.

About 9% of Northfield’s residents were Latino/Hispanic, according to 2019 U.S. Census estimates.

Some families may visit other countries in order to stay connected to their roots or to experience new things, but not all families have that privilege, Linder said. The conventional Hispanic-themed celebration in America, Cinco de Mayo, celebrates a patriotic holiday for Mexico but neglects the cultures of other Latin countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia, all of which have émigrés in Northfield, Linder said. She said the Hispanic Heritage Celebration serves as a means of learning about a variety of cultures in an organic, fun way.

Linder’s own experience as a transplant from Colombia informed her work in helping to create the festival, she said.

“Having this platform to show more diversity and cultural events was an amazing opportunity, just to be able to… bring that palate here, to town,” Linder said.

Linder holds the same hope for her own children as she does for other Hispanic families in Northfield: that they remain connected to their origins and history.

Attendance at the 2021 Hispanic Heritage Celebration is free of charge. The celebration, to be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m Sept. 18., will feature both traditional and contemporary Spanish language live music performances, and food trucks featuring cuisine from three different Latino cultures. There will be dance performances featuring styles originating both in Mexico and in old Spain. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn how to Latin dance themselves. Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell and U.S. Rep. Angie Craig are scheduled to give remarks.

Imminent Brewing will operate a beer garden from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. featuring a beer created specifically for the festival, the proceeds of which will go toward next year’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

For a full schedule of events, visit guides.mynpl.org/hhc.

Reach reporter Zach Kayser at 507-645-1115. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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