‘There’s such a booming community’: Latinos unite for Festival Latino

Vendors sold food, drinks and clothing from their countries.
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - The Latino community celebrated their cultures at a festival in Downtown Ocala.

The third annual Festival Latino Downtown Ocala was held at the Ocala Citizens’ Circle Saturday afternoon.

Vendors sold food, drinks and clothing from their countries. There was also a live band and free salsa lessons for anyone willing to learn the dance.

Guests loved feeling represented in the community.

“I can’t see any other festival like the Latin festival, to meet all my people from Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, the list goes on for more Latins and Central America. I am having a blast of a time,” said festival guest Mauricio Dogue.

Dogue said he is an Afro-Latino and is happy to be outside celebrating with the community.

“It’s a perfect day for this occasion and I’m looking forward to many Latin activities that they’re going to have on a yearly basis,” said Dogue.

An event organizer said it is important for Latinos to find a safe space to embrace their culture.

“There’s such a booming community of the Latinos in Central Florida, especially in Ocala and we want to make that space for the Hispanic and Latino community because there are so many of us that have that desire to express our culture,” said the Director of Communications for PartyMix Productions, Genesis Margolis.

Margolis said they wanted to bring the Hispanic culture and music to Ocala, so they found sponsors to make their dream become a reality.

“We want to be representative of not just one culture but of everybody, so hopefully as the years progress we get more and more.”

Information on future events will be posted on Festival Latino Downtown Ocala’s Facebook page.

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