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Festival Latino expected to draw hundreds

Hundreds are expected to gather at Hugh MacRae Park Saturday for the ninth annual Festival Latino. Right now organizers are setting up for the event that promises to expose Wilmington to some Latin flavor. The festival is a time to bring all cultures together, not just Latino. And it's all for the sake of having a little fun. The Latino population is one of the fastest growing populations in the south east. The mission of the festival this weekend is to bridge a gap between cultures by giving people a day to learn a little about each other. It celebrates people of all backgrounds and all colors, all under one title: Latino. "You want to say Latino because Latino encompasses everybody from latin america, not necessarily the language." The event is sponsored by Amigos International, a local outreach organization for the Latin community, and it's grown considerably since being introduced in Wilmington years ago. Event director Lucy Vasquez said, "I think it means a sense of belonging a sense of acceptance, and I think that's what happened when we first started festival Latino in 1998, it broke down a lot of barriers, I think it gave them that sense they like us, we belong, it's great." There's something for everyone at the festival...including great food, music, and dancing. Festival goers can pick up on a little bit off culture and a lot of fun. "I'm just expecting a really good time, great weather, and have people here enjoying a different, very different culture." The festival begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and will last till 6 p.m. at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington.

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