Stage & Dance

Festival Latino adds something else to love: a parade

Young dancers performed during last year's Festival Latino de Lexington. More than 30,000 people turned out for the two-day event.
Young dancers performed during last year's Festival Latino de Lexington. More than 30,000 people turned out for the two-day event.

Downtown Lexington will have an international flair as the Festival Latino de Lexington this weekend offers a parade for the first time.

"It's the first year, and we don't know what to expect, but we are shooting for around 20 entries," said Amber Luallen, cultural arts director in Lexington's division of parks and recreation, which presents the two-day festival.

Parade floats are expected to represent a number of Latin American countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Peru, Haiti and Honduras, she said. The groups representing the nations have "taken a lot of pride in getting things from home and really trying to make them (the floats) representative of their country and their culture."

The parade, along Main Street, will be Saturday, a day tinged with Mexican influences. Friday's festivities will have more of a tropical, Caribbean flavor, including fireworks, Luallen said.

Last year's Festival Latino, centered on the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza, drew about 30,000 people.

She said Fayette County includes immigrants from at least 42 Latin countries, and the festival offers an opportunity to learn what makes each unique.

"They have very rich traditions and heritage that all of us can learn from," she said.

Then there is the food.

"There will be no shortage of authentic Mexican food," she said. But there also will be authentic Nicaraguan and Puerto Rican cuisine.

All at affordable prices.

"For about $5 or $10, you should be able to get an interesting meal and a really good meal," she said.

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