Alicia Hortall Campbell loves watching the older Latinos and Latinas watch cultural performances.
“You can see that happiness in their faces,” she said. “Their experiences are so touching, and that’s one of the rewards for me.”
Hortall Campbell has been the Festival Latinoamericano’s artistic director since the festival began at least 18 years ago. It’s an event that she said showcases local Latino talent, bringing together both children and adults to dance, sing and put on other performances.
The annual festival began Saturday in downtown Provo. It will continue from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and from noon to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street. Saturday and Monday’s performances are fast-paced, while things slow down on Sunday with calmer and more inspirational music.
The event includes music, food, rides and vendors.
For Andrea Zurita, who serves on the festival’s executive committee, the festival has always been a family affair. Her father was one of its founders, and she and her sister have been volunteers.
“I grew up with this festival,” she said.
The event continues to grow every year as it adds more features and draws more people. Zurita said the festival seeks to let everyone know they’re welcome and embrace all types of Latino culture. That is partly done through the cultural performers scheduled throughout the weekend.
“Each group isn’t just one country or one type of dance,” Zurita said.
She’s stayed involved with the festival, and said she’s never been to a food booth where she ate something she didn’t love.
Many of the event’s volunteers are college students or members of schools’ Latinos in Action groups. Zurita is excited to see volunteers encourage their friends to attend and become introduced to the festival, just like her family has.
“We’ve seen how it can bring so many people together,” Zurita said.