Naperville residents enjoyed the sights, sounds, and flavors of Hispanic culture at the city’s first Hispanic Heritage Festival Saturday. Hosted by the Naperville Sister Cities Commission, the festival’s main event included live music from a variety of artists, and a Mexican market with cultural art, food, and drinks.
“What an opportunity to embrace that culture, because that’s what Sister Cities is all about. It’s about sharing that connection with another county, not only through education and business, but through culture and heritage,” Naperville City Councilwoman and Naperville Sister Cities Liaison Patty Gustin said.
A variety of fun cultural activities happened across Downtown Naperville leading up to the evening’s festival. There was a scavenger hunt, bilingual story time at Nichols Library, specialty foods at participating restaurants, and Frida Kahlo-style painting stations at the Riverwalk Fine Arts Festival.
Festival guests seemed thrilled to see an event like this kick off in Naperville.
“I’m actually of Mexican descent, and I’m pretty big on tradition with my family, so bringing my kids here to Naperville, it’s good to expose them to that culture, to her culture and especially mine as well. So it’s just really good for exposure-wise, just to show what diversity is all about,” according to festival guest Augustine Cervantes.
Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis announced at the event plans transport a decommissioned ambulance containing fire gear to Naperville sister city Cancun, Mexico, in addition to a fire truck and ambulance the city has already donated. The Commission provided an opportunity to donate to their foundation, which will use funds to help transport the ambulance.
The group also recognized Peter Foyo and Macarena Tamayo Calabrese with the Hispanic Heritage Award.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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