Hispanic culture celebration in Butler County

Festival to celebrate Hispanic culture
Americans and Latinos invited for fun, food, mariachi Aug. 16; tickets $1.
By Michael D. Pitman, Oxford Press, August 5, 2009

The members of La Voz want to showcase their culture to Butler County.

From noon to 10 p.m. Aug. 16, La Voz, a Hispanic nonprofit association of Butler County businesses, will present the Mariachi Festival at Tori’s Station on Donald Drive in Fairfield.

“We try to help create a bridge of understanding between the Hispanic population and the American population,” said Jorge Martinez, board member of La Voz and local attorney in Hamilton.

During conversations with the presidents of the Hamilton and Fairfield chambers of commerce, Martinez said the idea of a Hispanic festival was developed. Other local Hispanic celebrations are done either north in Dayton or south in Cincinnati.

“We don’t have any Hispanic celebrations in Butler County,” Martinez said. “We don’t have anything local.”

The chamber presidents suggested a local celebration for Hispanics.

“Taking into account the high count of Hispanics in this county, that was a really good idea,” Martinez said.

The festival was named Mariachi because it’s associated with fun and dance in the minds of Americans, Martinez said.

“We’re not doing this for Hispanics,” he said. “We want Americans to come and taste our food and our culture, our music, and enjoy it and celebrate with us the Hispanic culture.”

Fairfield Chamber President and CEO Kert Radel said the county’s Hispanic leaders want people to embrace their culture, as they want to embrace the American culture.

“It’s a showcase for the Hispanic community to show what their culture is all about,” said Radel said.

Radel and Hamilton Chamber President and CEO Kenny Craig met with La Voz and worked as advisers with the Hispanic business association.

“We know the Hispanic businesses are a big part of the community, and a growing part of the community,” Craig said. “It’s a step forward in us recognizing a seldom recognized segment of the business community. We hope it’s a sign of things to come.”

At the festival, there will be two mariachi bands, various types of Hispanic music, Colombian and Peruvian dancers, and children’s games and activities.

Tickets, which are $1, are required for the event. Tickets can be purchased at area Hispanic stores or Kroger, Martinez said.

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