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Viva Cape Coral block party tonight

By Staff | May 5, 2012

Viva Cape Coral returns this weekend for a second year, offering a lineup of entertaining performers, Hispanic cuisine and youth-friendly activities.

Sponsored by the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Univision Southwest Florida, the festival will be held today from 5-10 p.m. on Southeast 47th Terrace, from Southeast 10th Place to Coronado Parkway.

Admission and parking are free.

Veronica Culbertson, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer, said the organization has been hosting an annual heritage event for at least 10 years. Cinco de Mayo and Viva Fort Myers came before Viva Cape Coral.

“Last year went pretty well,” she said.

An estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people attended.

“That was about what we were expecting,” Culbertson said.

Organizers are anticipating the same turnout this year.

“This year is special because it actually falls on Cinco de Mayo,” she said.

According to Culbertson, the chamber hosted a Cinco de Mayo event in the Cape for two years before renaming it Viva Cape Coral. She said the point of renaming the event was to make it more inclusive of all Hispanic cultures.

“The basic idea of this festival is to bring everybody together,” Culbertson said. “A little bit of everything, so it basically caters to everyone.”

The headliner for the event is a reggaeton duo from Puerto Rico called Dyland y Lenny. They are scheduled to take the stage at about 9 p.m.

“They’re very popular on the radio,” she said.

The opening act for the duo is NG2 Style, a local reggaeton group.

“They played right before the main act last year,” Culbertson said, adding that they are the only returning act from 2011. “The crowd loved them.”

NG2 Style will perform at about 8:30 p.m.

Elli Lopez, a local singer and performer with Puerto Rican roots, also is scheduled to take the stage, along with Grupo Espali, a local salsa group.

“They’re very popular right now,” she said.

Other performances include a Zumba act with Adriana, as well as Mariachi Juarez, a four-member band that will play at the start of the festival.

“A lot of the families come early, and then later on, it gets more packed with the younger crowds,” Culbertson said. “There’s enough for everybody.”

Cuban, Mexican and Central American dishes will be available for purchase, along with some American mainstays like barbecue, pizza and hot dogs.

“We’re all inclusive,” she said. “We don’t want to exclude.”

Soda, water and alcoholic beverages, including Corona and Modelo, will also be available. A crowd favorite in 2011 was pineapple juice served in a pineapple.

“Those were really popular,” Culbertson said. “There were pineapples everywhere.”

There will be merchandise vendors and businesses on hand.

“We have law firms, to banks, to vendors who are selling things like bracelets,” she said. “A lot of companies.”

For the younger crowd, there will be a children’s area complete with rock climbing, ponies, clowns and more. Bowland Centers will set up a bowling alley.

“It’s just a festive time to have fun and meet new people,” Culbertson said. “There’s just so much going on – it’s for everybody.”

FOX4 is another major sponsor of this year’s event.

For more information, visit online at: www.VivaCapeCoral.com, or call the chamber at 418-1441 or e-mail info@hispanicchamberflorida.org.