Celebración will take place in downtown Winchester Saturday
Winchester — The Loudoun Street Mall will acquire a Latino flavor Saturday for the new Celebración of Winchester.
The all-day event sponsored by three local organizations is a chance to share different aspects of the Latino culture and celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, held Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, said Nancy Tilson Sinback, board member for the Coalition for Racial Unity, one of the sponsoring groups.
Celebración of Winchester will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday all along the walking mall. It will include music, dancing, arts and crafts, food, and Hispanic beer and wine. Admission is free and open to the public.
“We want to celebrate the contributions of Hispanics in our community and expose the community to this wonderful culture,” said Sinback, of Winchester.
The celebration is a joint project between the coalition, the Shenandoah Arts Council and the Winchester Main Street Foundation, said Tracy Marlatt, SAC executive director.
Different events have taken place in the past to celebrate Hispanic heritage around this time, including the Winchester’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Salsa Fest, the coalition’s Latino Fest, and art shows at the SAC gallery, she said.
“We figured it would be a bigger and better effort partnering with others,” said Marlatt, of Winchester.
Organizers will use different programming throughout the day to demonstrate how diverse the Latino culture is, said David Smith, foundation president and owner of Village Square Restaurant and Piano Bar.
Each native country represented by people who live here now — Mexico, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala — brings its own customs and culture to life here, he said.
“There are a multitude of cultures within the community that represent Hispanic culture, and we thought by having a different festival sharing the different cultures, we can promote that knowledge,” said Smith, of Winchester.
The day will feature music by two live bands set up on Rouss Avenue, Smith said. Alegria Musical de Mexico will perform a cross section of popular Hispanic music at noon. At 3 p.m., Tierra Firme will play a mix of Latin, jazz and salsa music.
The rest of the day, DJ Valentin will provide a wide selection of Latino music, Marlatt said. “He is a character in and of himself. He is an entertainer.”
A performance by a Mexican children’s dance troupe will open the day at 11 a.m. the same staging area, she said.
Other activities will be spread out along the mall.
Throughout the day, the Winchester Salsa Group will give free salsa lessons to anyone who wants to learn, Sinback said.
One of the coolest activities offered will be an all-day “musical petting zoo,” where students from Shenandoah Conservatory will bring instruments for children to “play, handle, and learn about,” Marlatt said. “There will be both English and Spanish speaking people to help with this educational moment.”
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum will have a tent set up near its location at 54 S. Loudoun St. with children’s activities.
Students from Handley High School will offer face painting for children throughout the day.
Several vendor booths will also set up tables, including educational and service providers, civic organizations, and health groups, Smith said. The Girl Scouts will have a table as an outreach to young Hispanic girls.
SAC will have a tent showcasing works done by artists of Hispanic heritage, Marlatt said.
Poblanos Southwest Grill, Aroma Deli, Village Market and Bistro, and Puerto La Unión will all have booths set up on the mall selling food, Smith said. Several downtown restaurants will also offer specials tied to the event.
There will be two drink stations selling Hispanic beers and wines, he said. Vendors will check IDs.
Celebración of Winchester will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. rain or shine on the Loudoun Street Mall. Admission is free and open to the public. Contact 703-314-8870 or 800-708-6448 or go to facebook.com/celebracionwinchester.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com