If you are in the search for authenticity, look no further than Fiesta Latina, returning to River Street in Savannah for its 13th year. This one is going to be bigger and better, according to Gustavo Gonzalez, the organizer of the event along with host LASO Savannah.
“This is our 13th year and my sixth in the role of organizer," he says. "At this point the event pretty much creates itself. Once you’ve established an event of this magnitude, it truly finds its own rhythm. Vendors and musicians will find us each year to be a part of it.
"Locals expect the party to return each autumn. It is now a part of the fall season in Savannah."
Fun for all ages includes a traditional Mexican clown, El Payaso Ponky, the mechanical bull and more.
“Fiesta Latina is a complete festival in the sense that everyone is included," Gonzalez says. "We don’t overlook the kids, parents or the grandparents ... The riding of the mechanical bull and the live music are loved by young adults, but then again, music just unites everyone.”
The event is known for presenting a wide array of music and dance, which is fundamental to all Latin American cultures and is as diverse as the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. This year’s headliner is Grupo Apasionado from Hidalgo, Mexico.
“We are so happy to have them here," Gonzalez says. "They are a Norteño, pop and rock sound infused band. I am also happy to see La Llama del Swing. This is a trio from Orlando, Fla., which is comprised by three very talented ladies from the island of Puerto Rico. Their music is everything from bachata to salsa and I know everyone will dance to the music.
"In the dance department, we are going to have just about every Latin country represented through dance, and one of the groups will be performing a traditional Los Diablitos Mexican dance."
As the Southeast area continues to grow, so does the diversity and the needs of those who become a part of the community. Businesses have noticed that the Latino community is one they need to pay attention to, which is why Gonzalez says corporations like Geico, Toyota and Harley-Davidson, for example, are jumping on the chance to share their services with the Latino community during Fiesta Latina.
“We are everywhere, and companies are taking notice. We work, and we, too, have disposable income to play with," Gonzalez says. "We encourage each year more companies to join us. It is a smart marketing and branding move for your company to educate the Latino community of the services and goods you can offer us. For example, Harley-Davidson will be bringing some of its latest motorcycle models down to the plaza for a small exhibit during the event.”
There will also be over a dozen food vendors and artisans, according to Gonzalez. Fiesta Latina gives visitors the ability for one day to create a microcosm filled with colors, aromas and sounds that transport them to a faraway place. Don’t miss the opportunity to give your mind and taste buds a vacation.
“Listen, there isn’t a place in all of Savannah where you can drink an authentic piña colada," he says. "Fiesta Latina 2018 will be the only place where you can grab this delicious concoction and drink it out of a fresh pineapple.”