Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Last modified: Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Festival Latino brings culture, food to Dunn Meadow on Sept. 30

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Sept. 13, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Latino culture will be celebrated with food, dancing, interactive activities and more during the ninth annual Festival Latino at Indiana University Bloomington.

IU's Latino Cultural Center, La Casa, is the main sponsor for the event. The outdoor festival will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 30 at Dunn Meadow, located at the corner of Seventh Street and Indiana Avenue in Bloomington. The festival, which is free and open to the public, is one of many events scheduled during National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15).

"We provide a venue for Latinos and non-Latinos, campus and city to come together to celebrate the Latino presence," said Lillian Casillas, director of La Casa. "Festival Latino is a way to help people have that important interaction, which helps develop and create an inclusive and supportive community."

Guadalupe Arroyo, student chair of Festival Latino, says it is important for people to understand different cultures.

"We're a growing community, and we're going to be co-workers and neighbors, and it's important they interact and see and understand our culture," Arroyo said. "This is a venue that challenges people to go out of their comfort zone, but they can do so at their own pace."

Many activities have been planned to facilitate interaction and active involvement in the festival. A Latin dance steps class will be taught from 2:40 p.m. to 3 p.m., and a dance contest, featuring prizes, will be held from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

An interactive walk-through timeline will allow attendees to learn about people and events from the 1800s through 2005 that are important to Latino culture. Attendees can fill out questionnaires at the end of the timeline and submit them in raffles for prizes from the event's sponsors.

"Many people don't know that Latinos fought in the Civil War," Casillas said. "This timeline will show we've had a long history in this country. With the issue of immigration, people think Latinos are arriving today, but the recent growth of Latinos in the United States is due to the births of babies from Latinos who can trace their family history in the U.S. for many generations."

Local vendors will serve food, and all booth participants will also compete for the best display and interactive activity. Live performances will be given by three bands: Pambasso (a steel drums band), Orquesta Bravo! (salsa) and Dejavu (Latin fusion).

The Mathers Museum of World Cultures at IUB will lead families in activities throughout the day, including:

Festival Latino is sponsored by La Casa, the Latino Enhancement Cooperative, the IU Auditorium, Bajio Mexican Grill, BuffaLouie's, Chipotle, La Bamba, Bloomington Sandwich Co., Jimmy Johns, Café Pizzaria Inc., Pizza Hut, Roots Restaurant, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department.

For more information, call La Casa at 812-855-0174 or visit

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