Traditions old, new meld in 2017 Latino Festival Saturday

Sights range from quinceañeras to vatos with autos

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Banners at the 2017 Latino Festival read, "Immigrants Make America Great," and "No Human Being is Illegal," and the truths are no less true in 2020.

The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes — everything was delicious at the 2017 Latino Festival in downtown Perry Saturday.

Presented by Hispanics United for Perry (HUP), the annual Latino Festival began at 10 a.m. with a parade along Willis Avenue from 12th to Second streets. National flags of Mexico and many Central American countries fluttered in the morning air, still damp from a light rain, and the U.S. flag was equally prominent among them.

One of the new entrants in this year’s parade was the Low Obsession Lowrider Car Club of Des Moines. The dozen vatos with autos made a dazzling sight, and they later parked their modified cars along Second Street for public inspection.

Downtown events began at 11 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m., with a variety of vendors and food tents lining a two-block stretch of Second Street and traditional music and appetite-inducing smells filling the air. DJ Ever, DJ DK, DJ Juanito and numerous other musical groups performed during the event in the Raccoon Valley Bank courtyard.

Folk dancers also entertained the audience, with face painting for youngsters also drawing a steady crowd. Miss Bella Latina Iowa, Stephanie Quintana of Des Moines, and Mr. Latino Iowa, Alex Jaimes of Perry, were among the special guests.

The annual event showcases both local and regional entertainers and features a presentation of local young women who were quinceañeras in the past year and a reina/queen pageant. A soccer kick-off form 9- to 14-year-olds was held in the yard of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

The Latino Festival is the primary fundraiser for HUP, with proceeds supporting scholarships for graduating seniors and continuing education.

Sponsors of the 2017 festival included the Perry Chamber of Commerce, Perry Public Library, Raccoon Valley Bank, Perry Family Dentistry, Family Credit Union, Hy-Vee, Fareway, Osmundson Manufacturing Co., Wiese Industries, Merriwether-Wilson, Tyson Foods Inc., Reyes Body Shop, LULAC Iowa, Perry Rotary Club, Mid-Iowa Family Therapy Clinic, Hasting’s Funeral Homes, Hulgan’s Plumbing and Heating, Peters Service, NEVCO, Amerigroup Iowa, Finneseth, Dalen and Powell PLC, Carris Family Funeral Home, Pentico Lawn Care, Re/Max, Ace Hardware, Catholic Health Initiatives and ThePerryNews.com.

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