COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The eighth Tri- City Latino Festival took place at the Columbus Civic Center on Sep. 18, 2021. The event featured performances from multiple dance groups and booths from clothing vendors and food vendors from many different Hispanic/Latino countries.
Natalie Bouyett, the Tri- City Latino Association Secretary and Christian Ortiz, the Social Media Marketing Director for the association, are both from a Puerto Rican background and they both have been involved with the association for three years.
“I grew up with festivals like in Florida or going to Puerto Rico and it was a part of just being home with my family and celebrating, listening to music and eating this food. Coming to Columbus, this community is still here in Columbus so this is really the best time to showcase all of those aspects that I grew up with and that I loved. It is always so exciting to see it on the big stage,” said Bouyett.
According to Bouyett, the Tri- City Latino Festival received over 44 sponsors this year including Pepsi, Aflac and Georgia Power.
“It’s really great to see people of all cultures especially come together and they look forward to it. It’s really cool, it has been eye-opening for sure but its also been so rewarding, you get a lot of people that just reach out,” said Ortiz.
Along with the multiple cuisines available to attendees from countries like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, there were also fruit vendors showcasing how fruit can be seasoned differently in different countries.
Angel Salcedo, a Colombian clothing vendor, has been a part of the Tri- City Latino Festival since it started. He sells apparel like shirts, hats and keychains from multiple different countries.
“I like everything. I like talking to people, I like bringing apparel from all the countries, I like to participate and get to know the artists they invite to the festival. I like the festival life,” said Salcedo in Spanish.
Salcedo said he intends to continue being a part of the festival in the upcoming years.
The Tri-City Latino Festival Association also partnered with the Civic Center to make the event more dynamic by including a car show, a job fair and a COVID-19 vaccination drive.