By MORGAN MANNS
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — Latino Fest has been bringing people together for 13 years.
Community members of all ethnicities, religious beliefs, genders and ages come together for the Fostoria festival, which runs 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday in downtown Fostoria.
“There’s something here for everyone,” said organizer Shelly Garcia. “We’ve seen how many people come together and we listen to their stories about how much fun they’ve had or how they look forward to it every year.”
The “Summer Bash Custom Car Show” will return this year from 2 p.m. until dark. Registration is free and will be available the day of the event. Vehicles will be set up along Main Street between North and Center streets and along Center Street to the west. Any type of vehicle will be accepted.
Parallel Universe will kick off the live entertainment at 4:30 p.m. Yvonne y Fuego, Temible and La Traizion will perform between 6-9 p.m. at undetermined times, while Midwest Conjunto will take the stage at 9:30 p.m., closing the event.
Vendors will garnish the downtown roadways, offering a variety of foods from barbecue and hamburgers to Mexican to Puerto Rican dishes, as well as typical carnival fare. A beer tent will also be set up.
Other vendors will be offering items such as jewelry, MaryKay products and more. Organizers are still looking for vendors, who may sell their items at no charge. Register by calling 419-619-0343.
Tables and chairs will be set up throughout the area, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs if possible.
“It’s just a good time to be had by all,” Garcia said. “You don’t have to be Latino to come. We have so many different people attend and they almost always say how they have a good time.”
Bounce houses, children’s games and obstacle courses will also be offered.
Latino Fest was first hosted in 2006 at Meadowlark Park (now Foundation Park) with two or three bands. The event moved downtown in 2009 as it continued to grow, offering more bands, more children’s activities and a beer tent.
The annual shindig now brings in anywhere from 800 to 1,200 visitors from the tri-county area and other states.
Proceeds from the event will set a foundation for next year’s festival. However, each year the committee tries to put some money raised through the festival back into the community.
The Latino Fest committee consists of an eight-member team. Garcia says community members are welcome to offer feedback and suggestions, and to get involved in the planning.
“We wish more younger people would get involved,” Garcia said. “Planning has become pretty easy over the years, but the day of the festival is the hardest. The more help we can get, the easier it will be on everyone.”
For more information, visit Latino Fest on Facebook.