Latino festival will be held in Hightstown on Aug. 18


Aiming to showcase the diversity of the Latino community, the sixth annual Latino Festival of Hightstown-East Windsor is set for Aug. 18 at Rocky Brook Park in Hightstown.

The event, which is free, will be held from 1-6 p.m. at Rocky Brook Park, 170 Bank St. The rain date is Aug. 25 at the park.

The goal of the festival is to show off the many musical and cultural traditions of the Latino community, said Carlos Fernandez of the Hightstown-East Windsor Latino Cultural Committee.

“The focus is on trying to put a human face and an artistic face to Latinos in New Jersey. Who are the immigrants? What are they all about? What did they bring to the United States?” Fernandez said.

“It’s the beauty and the culture and the arts they contribute to the American landscape” that the festival tries to highlight, he said.

To that end, festival-goers can listen to musicians and watch dance groups from countries  ranging from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru to Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico.

“We use (the festival) as a way to bring the community together,” Fernandez said. “There are a lot of people from Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico, among others. We want to bring them all together.”

Many of the performers live in East Windsor and the Twin Rivers development, and others come from Springfield, Elizabeth and New York City, he said.

The festival is not just music. There will be educational exhibits, food for sale, and arts and crafts activities for children.

New this year is the soccer Friendship Cup, awarded to the winning team in the inaugural Latino Festival Friendship Soccer Match, which took place earlier this month. The trophy will be awarded to Club Chacarita Jr. USA. The team competed against Deportivo Somerville, Atletico de Madrid, and Alianza FC.

The sixth annual Latino Festival is being organized by the Hightstown-East Windsor Latino Festival Committee with support from RISE, A Community Service Organization, and several businesses and community groups.

The Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission is supporting the event with funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, which is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.