Hispanic Festival creates ‘taste of home’

Hispanic Festival creates 'taste of home'

Nancy Ortiz

Dancers wore colorful outfits to perform at the Hispanic Festival.

The Hispanic Festival in Kapiolani Park was a “taste of home.”

For Halma Garcia, who is a 34-year-old Puerto Rican, it was one of the few times she is able to celebrate her culture here in Hawaii.

“I came to support the Puerto Rican heritage,” Garcia said. “I bring my children to these events to show them the culture and dance.”

This year’s Hispanic Festival was on sunny Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kapiolani Bandstand in Waikiki. The event was free and open to all.

Nancy Ortiz, a 55-year old Puerto Rican and this year’s event coordinator for the Hispanic festival, planned it all, from the musical performances to the food booths. Ortiz has done this festival for more than 20 years.

Organizing this event was stressful and challenging.

“It would be nice if some of the younger people stepped up and helped plan the event,” said Ortiz. “I have been doing it for over 20 years and it can get exhausting.”

This has been the 25th year for the Hispanic Festival and planning for most the events can become tiring. Ortiz loves the festivals but would like to see newer and younger faces step up to the plate to help out and eventually take her place.

Overall, through the pressure and strain, Ortiz was happy with the turnout of this year’s event of an estimated 3,000 people.

The entertainment Ortiz had organized were Sewa Fare, a group that played the African drums, Eddie Ortiz & Son Caribe Salsa Band, Rodney Perez & Tropi Jazz, Boricuas de Hawaii and more. Supporting all 25 Hispanic cultures and held an open door to all for an experience for a small taste of their culture, food, dance and traditions.

The event held specialty booths, children’s activities, craft booths, food booths and community and health agencies.

Aromatic scents of food clouded up the venue made it hard not to stop and take a peak.

Hispanic food is not the healthiest but is hardy.

The Zumba dance crew blew up the stage and took it to another level of energetic fun. Zumba coordinator Diana Walton took her team of Zumba fanatics and killed it on stage.

Clusters of Zumba lovers exploded out to dance on the bottom of the stage to support and participate in the fun exercise. Zumba has many Spanish dance moves making it easy for Hispanics to relate to.

“The richness in the foods we eat we need to exercise,” said Ortiz. “Zumba keeps you well toned.”

The goal for next year’s event is to get at least 4,000 people to come to the event on the weekend of Oct. 25.

A new focus for the flyers will be on the Zumba dancing. Many people come to support Zumba.

“Next year I will be asking people for more assistance and see of anybody would like to take more control,” said Ortiz.