It's time to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Latino Community in Muskegon and after an amazing launch in 2019 and of course a "siesta" in 2020 and 2021 like the rest of the world got, 2022 is time for one and all to experience the rich tastes and ample amount of festive fun and abundance of love in Muskegon who's ancestry is from Mexico and South America.
That was one of the biggest take away's that I had with my chat today with Ana Olson from Los Amigos Restaurant on Sherman in Muskegon who is one of the organizers of the event. "Latino" is a pretty broad term when you stop and think about it. "Latino" encompasses people from Mexico all the way down to the very tip of South America. A quick rough check of math and that's about 3,707 miles of different cultures, people and traditions between the US boarder and Cape Horn all the way down there at the bottom of South America, so finding something unique, new...flavorful and fun won't be hard.
Getting to know more about Latin American culture is what it's all about. The organization behind the festival is Latino's Working for the Future. From their website - ""Our purpose is to unify and organize the Latino community of the Greater Muskegon Area. We will strive to celebrate our culture, increase interest in our history, while preserving and honoring the Latino dialects of our Hispanic population. Our continuing goals will be to take an active interest in the educational needs of the children and adults in our community where they are native or foreign born".
The turn out for year one was so incredible that the food ran a little short. Let me share a little something from an outsiders perspective however though. Remembering back to the 2019 festival, the organizers got it all right. What was missing was the level of engagement that Muskegon has seen across the board. Planning for a first year festival is hard, it's tricky to try and guess everything from what might the weather be to who might come and what else if going on. Nothing was missed in every direction but the fact that Muskegon can host multiple events with differing themes on the same day and have them succeed speaks volumes of all of us including the Muskegon County Latino Festival and they are MORE than ready with the tastes and traditions this year.
Hackley Park is the place. September 10th is the date and the fun gets underway at 2! Music from Mariachi's! Band's, DJ's and more. There will be kids areas. Plenty of incredible authentic Latino food to choose from. Some of those AMAZING South of the Border beers and of course....a healthy dose of love. I come from a small agricultural community. We had plenty of people from Latin American descent living with us and of course the seasonal workers that came....of my years on this planet...I don't know of many who have been more loyal, true and kind than them. Moving to Muskegon, and getting to know some people better...the work ethic, the friendly and driven and deeply caring people have made me a better person. The food. Well, take a look. I am proud to say that I have yet to meet a burrito I have not eaten.
We're expanding in so many ways. We have Irish Festivals. We have Polish Festivals. We have Latino Festivals. We have our backgrounds and we have our foreground. We are walking together in the right direction and we're also able to absorb all that makes us unique and....we are doing it week by week, event by event and we're also doing pretty dang good at making sure most everyone is included. If you're not included....maybe it's YOU that is the spark for the next big thing in Muskegon? All it takes is an idea.