In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Iowa Central Spanish Department is preparing to celebrate with the annual Afro-Latino Festival this Wednesday.
Last year around 500 students, faculty, staff and area high school students attended the event.
With several Hispanic and Latino staff members and a large Hispanic student population throughout the three Iowa Central campuses and career academies, Estling said the Afro-Latino Festival was started to bring more awareness of the culture.
“It is a cultural event that aims to highlight the rich heritage of the Afro-Latino community in Iowa Central Community College and our community,” said Estling, a native of Colombia. “It provides an opportunity for people to learn about it and appreciate the diverse cultures and traditions of the Afro-Latino community. “We saw this as a way to fill a need; a way to have a direct encounter with many cultures.”
The festival will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday September 27 in the Student Resource Center on the Iowa Central Fort Dodge campus. It will feature educational posters created by Spanish and Latino History students, food, music, dancing and traditional dress representing various countries. Estling said there will be around 50 countries represented through student posters and projects this year.
Food and games will begin around 9:50 a.m. Guest speaker, Dr. Jesse Ulrich, president of Iowa Central Community College will present at 10 a.m. Music by Son y Sabor Colombiano will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by a performance by the Mambo Soul Dance Company at 11:30 a.m. and the music of Son Peruchos at noon.
The event is made possible through funding by the Ann Smeltzer Charitable Trust, Iowa Central Community College Student Activities and the Catherine Vincent Deardorf Charitable Foundation.
Estling said the community is welcome to attend.
“We welcome the community to come out, it is not just for Iowa Central students and staff,” she said. “It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the rich history and traditions of the Afro-Latino community and to celebrate the cultural diversity that makes Iowa Central Community and Fort Dodge such a vibrant and exciting place to be.”