Kapiolani Park will be transformed into Little Mexico — or should we say Little Cuba, or Colombia or Bolivia?
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage month, and Hawaii celebrates with a major hoopla of food booths and the state’s top Hispanic singers and dancers Oct. 11 at the annual Hispanic Heritage Festival & Health Fair.
With 121,000 members, Hawaii boasts a sizable Hispanic community.
Out-of-town performers also join in the fiesta, with Mexican folk dancing group Ballet Folkloric Costa de Oro coming in from California. Last year they kicked up their hooves to such audience delight that this year they’re coming back and bringing their keiki dancers. They twirl, bend and do fancy footwork across the stage, showing off their costumes that are a splash of colors, accented brightly with ribbons and lace.
“They fundraise all year to come to the festival,” notes Nancy Ortiz, who has been coordinating the festival for the past 11 years. “Other dances we have are from Bolivia and Colombia, and we have salsa, bachata … we have a bit of everything.”
Other noteworthy guests headlining the entertainment are Cuban master dancer Royland Lobato from the San Francisco Bay Area and Wally Rita Y Los Kauaianos from Kauai.
“They’re the hottest Puerto Rican band on Kauai,” says Ortiz. “They were at our festival four years ago, and they were such a hit. Every year people keep asking me to bring them in.”
The band also will highlight El Dia de la Raza Oct. 12, a dance concert at Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s (almalatinaproductions.com), a continuation of the Hispanic Heritage celebration.
In addition to a succession of local singing and dance groups at Kapiolani Park, which commence with a hula oli, there will be children’s activities, craft booths, exhibit and a health fair. A cultural display tent will feature specially selected items from Honolulu
Museum of Art that represent an array of Hispanic handicraft. Hawaii’s Colombian community also is assembling a display of Colombian artifacts.
“We also have Miss Latina Hawaii 2014 Easter-Lily Smith and Miss Outstanding Latina Teen 2014 Nicole Hong, along with other title holders,” says Ortiz, “which is nice because people like to take pictures with them. We have something for everyone!”
the TICKET stub
When: Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Kapiolani Park Bandstand
More Info: 285-0072, hispaniceventshawaii.com