Thousands take over Ogden Park for two-day Latin festival

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Thousands took over Ogden Park over the weekend to enjoy Latin foods, music, and culture during the 21st Annual Festival Latino.

The largest Latino festival in North Carolina was on hiatus for two years due to the pandemic.

There were vendors, carnival-themed games for both kids and adults, as well as a make-shift dance floor for those inspired by the live bands.

Whitney Cheek and her sister Janet Beal have never experienced the more than two-decade-old festival, but say they’ve always loved the Latin culture and wanted to get a firsthand experience.

“I was excited to come here because they have all the different kinds of foods and music, and it’s just really exciting because we kind of grew up with some of this culture,” she said.  “So, to kind of being immersed in it was really a cool thing to do.”

According to festival founder Lucy Vasquez, the event is meant to not only unite the community but is treated like a family reunion.

According to Vaquez, the annual event has become a tradition many have looked forward to for the past two years, and was overcome by emotion when she spoke to WWAY about it.

“This is the one time of the year they see old friends; they see people they haven’t seen all year long,” she said. “This is a tradition in the family, kids come year after year, and families plan a whole year for it.”

According to Vaquez, the weather was perfect to enjoy some outdoor fun.

“We had a most beautiful day in the park, of love, of unity, of friendship, of longtime relationships that have been built up right here,” she said.

Festivities continue for both kids and adults from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Vasquez said she is excited about Festival Latino making a comeback and will return next year.

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