Celebrate Latino Heritage at Festival Guatemala
It's a celebration of Guatemalan culture and the contributions that the Guatemalan community has made to the state of Rhode Island.
The Guatemalan community began establishing itself in Rhode Island in the ’70s, and became more visible in the ’80s and ’90s, settling into places like Providence, Central Falls and Woonsocket. Festival Guatemala was organized in 2009 to help immigrants celebrate their heritage in their new home.
The annual festival, this year on September 8 from noon to 7 p.m. at Roger Williams Park, is often held near Guatemalan Independence Day (September 15). “More than anything, it’s a celebration of Guatemalan culture and of the contributions that the Guatemalan community has made to the state of Rhode Island,” says festival volunteer Mario Mendez. “It serves as a conduit for folks to come together who wouldn’t otherwise partake in a celebration of their culture.” The family-friendly event features live music, dancers, food vendors and activities for all ages. While the festival is meaningful for New England-based Guatemalans and those of Guatemalan descent, president of the Guatemalan Center of New England and event organizer, Tiana Ochoa, says, “anyone and everyone is welcome to come and celebrate with us.” For her, the festival recognizes “what it is to be Guatemalan and the fact that though we are not home, this is our new home and we’re here, together, celebrating.” guatemalancenter.org