GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (WOOD) — The Hispanic Festival kicked off Friday at Calder Plaza, bringing food, music and culture to downtown Grand Rapids.
The host of the event, in addition to food and entertainment, also had a children’s soccer tournament on Saturday from 11 a.m. About 300 children aged 6 to 14 competed to win it all.
Festival goers were able to watch the tournament, stroll up to 11 different vendors cooking traditional Venezuelan, Cuban and Puerto Rican foods, as well as foods from many other Latin American cultures.
“We have a ton of fun celebrating, dancing and really, celebrating diversity in culture.” Because it’s not just one subset of Hispanic culture here in West Michigan, we have … a variety of different people from all over South America,” said Cesar Gonzalez, president of the Hispanic Festival.
This year there is even more fun than previous years. Musicians from all over will be playing, including California, Texas and Chicago, as well as some local acts.
Organizers said so many people showed up Friday night that vendors sold out. However, they had since restocked and were ready for an all-day Saturday.
Evelyn Esparza, executive director of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, said the event is important to the organization.
“This is the main fundraising event for the Hispanic Center, so we rely on funding from this event to continue programs that aren’t necessarily covered by any of our grants or sponsorships for other programs,” Esparza said. “So this is vital for the center to continue to do what it needs to do in our community.”
The Hispanic Festival open until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Sunday.