By Youseph Rasheed
Latino culture was vividly on display this past Sunday the 13th. The second annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration was held at the Ernesto Strada Piazza in Westbury under the cool and crisp autumn air.
Spanish teenage dance quartet The Next Generation from Rhythmology showed off their skills as festival goers keenly watched them move to the beat. Erica from New Castle attended the event and said of the group "they were awesome; they really know how to shake." Katherine Porto who manages the group told the Westbury Times that the girls had only been together for about a year.
After the young ladies put on their show, Alfred Pena who owns Rhythmology taught the crowd how to dance to romantic Bachata music. Eva Gerardi of Westbury didn't miss a step as she danced the afternoon away on the Piazza under the instruction of Pena. Gerardi said "I love the festival, and I love learning Bachata, it's so much fun!"
Pena enthusiastically said "I am so excited we have activities like this so we can celebrate with the Hispanic community." Krisia Romano, 12, and her brother Khristian Romano, 8, of Hicksville, together form the group Los Rancheritos Del Norte. Both of them exquisitely belted out traditional Mariachi music with authentic dress to boot. Krisia said "I sing from my heart, I like when people clap for me, it makes me want to sing more."
Radio personality Speedy from The Luis Jimenez Show on 96.3 FM was letting the good times roll and said "It's an amazing festival; Hispanics are the largest growing community in America. It's a really positive vibe being here."
Miriam Hernandez of The Latino Advisory Council and Nancy Barreno of The Latino Committee were available to help educate Hispanics about issues like immigration, insurance, taxes, and the history of the county. Moe's Southwest Grill provided tortilla chips and refreshments. The festival was held from 2-5pm.
Festival clown provided face painting, balloon animals, and cotton candy for the children.