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Viva Cape Coral! Annual event celebrates all things Hispanic, Saturday

By Staff | Sep 26, 2013

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Viva Cape Coral! will take place Saturday.

The event, which is in its third year, will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. on Southeast 47th Terrace, between Southeast 10th Place and Coronado Parkway, in the downtown area. It is free and open to the public.

Hosted by the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and The Pendas Law Firm, the festival will feature live music, food, arts and crafts, dozens of vendors and a children’s area.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together,” Veronica Culbertson, president of the chamber, said. “It’s a great opportunity for non-Hispanics to learn about the Hispanic culture.”

This is the first year that the celebration is being held in September in recognition of the national month. Previously, it was held in May because it originally was an event for Cinco de Mayo.

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs Sept. 15 though Oct. 15.

“We need to bring the communities together and that’s basically what we’re trying to do,” she said.

The headliner for this year’s festival is Fuego, a popular Dominican artist.

“Fuego is a cross between merengue, reggaeton, pop. Very popular dancing music,” Culbertson said.

He is scheduled to take the stage at about 9 p.m.

Kicking off the evening’s lineup will be Danza Azteca Guadalupana.

“They’re traditional Mexican Indians,” she said. “It’s a really nice performance.”

There will also be a short tribute in honor of the national month.

“We are going to have a flag presentation of all the Latin American flags,” Culbertson said.

At about 7:30 p.m., the local salsa band Grupo Espali will perform.

Zumba with Adriana and a possible fourth group will fill the time between the bigger acts.

“We have great music, which is the center of entertainment,” she said.

Another highlight of the celebration is the Hispanic cuisine.

“Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Central-American, Mexican,” Culbertson said, naming off just some of the culturally based fare that will be available.

There will be merchandise vendors and businesses promoting products and services.

“We have about 70 or 80 (vendors) along the street,” she said.

“That’s a lot of fun,” Culbertson added. “Everybody loves to hang out, walk around and socialize.”

For the younger attendees, a children’s area will be set up with rides and activities.

“A lot of rides for the kids,” she said.

Last year, an estimated 10,000 people turned out for the event.

“It was packed,” Culbertson said. “Each year we would like to become bigger and bigger.”

For more information on Viva Cape Coral!, contact the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at (239) 418-1441 or visit online at: www.vivacapecoral.com/.