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Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival boasts successful event, releases 2017 dates

DES MOINES, IA – Organizers of Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival say a new location for the 2016 event proved popular among attendees, and the festival will return to the same site for 2017.

The 15th annual festival was last weekend at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines. Early numbers indicate attendance was up even though the festival had to close early Saturday night because of inclement weather.

The festival will return to Western Gateway Park on Sept. 23 and 24, 2017.

“We were very impressed and very happy with the new venue,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees the festival. “Many, many attendees thanked us and said it was the best location we’ve ever had for the festival.”

Other new aspects of the festival also were highly received. The art tent with interactive displays kept visitors entertained. Festival organizers will build upon this for the 2017 event.

This was the second year for the civic engagement booth, where there was information about how to register to vote, how voting works, voters’ rights issues, and about the candidates. Several candidates participated in the political soapbox.

There were almost a dozen countries represented at the festival in the cultural pavilion. Organizers hope to draw even more country representatives next year to continue with the festival’s tradition of honoring the contributions all Latin countries have made to Iowa.

“We had another successful festival, and we look forward to finding ways to improve it for next year,” Gonzalez said.

The theme for next year’s festival and details about the annual poster contest will be announced in spring 2017.

Gonzalez said festival organizers wanted to thank everyone who attended and especially the event sponsors.

“We could not hold a cultural event of this magnitude without the support of the community and our sponsors,” he said.

Gold level sponsors are: Bravo Greater Des Moines, Nationwide Insurance and Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel.

Silver level sponsors are: Dupont Pioneer, Polk County Supervisors, Principal Financial Group and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Bronze level sponsors are: Billion Auto, Des Moines Area Community College, Faegre Baker Daniels, Meredith Corp., Wartburg College and Wells Fargo.

Friends of the festival are: Amerigroup, Bankers Trust, CenturyLink, David Brown Law Firm, Des Moines Metro Credit Union, Federal Home Loan Bank, Frito-Lay, Greater Iowa Credit Union, Hola Iowa, Iowa Beverage, John Deere and Veridian Credit Union.

For more information, visit, or contact Melissa Walker at 515-681-7731 or Visit Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook and #ialatinoheritagefestival on Instagram.

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