The Latino Cultural Festival Celebrates its 15th Anniversary
Celebrate the culture and traditions of Hillsboro’s Latinx community on Sunday, May 19 at the 15th Annual Latino Cultural Festival from 12 – 5 pm! This free community event will feature music and dance performances, an arts village, food vendors, a competitive futsal (soccer) tournament, and booths featuring local artisans, businesses, and organizations. It’s a great day for the whole family and fun for all ages.
Designed to connect, embrace, and engage Hillsboro’s vibrant Latinx community, the festival has grown each year in both attendees and in its scope. The festival quickly overflowed and outgrew its space at Tuality Healthcare its very first year and moved to the Hillsboro Civic Center the next year. By its third year, it landed at its current home on the Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza and the streets of Downtown Hillsboro.
The festival has become an annual tradition for many families from a broad range of backgrounds and cultures. Initially focused on social service groups, it has expanded to showcase all aspects of Latinx culture, including sports, food, art, performances, and local Latinx businesses. It now hosts more than 10,000 attendees.
Jaime Miranda, owner of the local M&M Marketplace, has coordinated the annual futsal tournaments since the festival moved outdoors and has seen the changes first-hand. He says, “I’m happy to see the growth of the [Latino Cultural Festival] with the community coming together and more organizations participating in this welcoming and inclusive event....The most important part to me is that the event is for the whole community—everyone feels welcome and wants to participate.”
A treasured highlight of the festival is the opening performance by The Aztec Dancers, presented by ABCD Enterprises, LLC. Though the other performances by Latinx musicians and dance groups rotate each year, The Aztec Dancers, with spectacular feathered headdresses and an earth-pounding presence, are an annual feature of the festival.
In collaboration with the local schools, a parade celebrates the diversity of Latinx culture by highlighting each Latin American country. Each school that participates researches a different country and students walk in the parade with handmade signs and banners representing the cultures and traditions of that country. In celebration of the festival’s 15th anniversary, the Chamber will also sponsor one Hillsboro student’s quinceañera (15th birthday) celebration this year.
Finalists from the 2nd Annual M&M Marketplace singing contest are set to perform on the youth stage at the corner of Main Street and 2nd Avenue, with this year’s winner selected and announced that day.
This year’s festival also includes increased support from local Latinx businesses, with El Chino Taqueria and Mariscos/Molina Insurance Group titling the event.
The 15th Annual Latino Cultural Festival is set to be the largest yet, jam-packed with events for everyone to enjoy. This is just the type of growth that Jaime Miranda wants to see continue every year. Miranda says, “I’m looking forward to the Latino Cultural Festival continuing to embrace the community as a whole. It’s where we come together and celebrate.”