Sta. Rosa de Lima festival spices up crowd in Campbell



Authentic Spanish food, Latin music and family atmosphere are the mainstays of Sta. Rosa de Lima Church’s Spanish Festival.

The 47th annual festival winds up today with a food sale offering a special menu from 1 to 3 p.m. and regular menu and festival activities from 5 to 11 p.m., including a live band, Noel Quintana and the Latin Crew from Cleveland, and DJ Papiro.

Part of the entertainment Saturday was the finale of the talent show, which was won by Chloe Housteau, 9, a singer from Boardman. Tied for second were Belmont, a singer and drummer duo, Samantha Arrowsmith and Donte Dutch, both of Campbell; and Triple Diamonds, a dance group from Youngstown, whose members are Dieanera and Rayanna Dixon and Jerlesha Butler. The third-place winner was Juliana Montanez, 9, of Campbell.

But the real star of the festival, say Rey and Nancy Esparra, event chairman and co-chairwoman, is Carmen Molina of Campbell, who heads up the kitchen crew.

“I made 100 pounds of Spanish rice Friday,” she said with a laugh and a sigh.

Proving the festival is a family affair, Carmen’s granddaughter, Jessica Rivera of Liberty, was there enjoying watching her children, Jessalyn and Jayden Hartsfield, 7 and 1, get their faces painted.

One of the founders of the festival in 1961 was Porfirio Esparra Sr., Rey Esparra’s father.

The festival has grown in attendance. “You can hardly walk in here on Saturdays and Sundays. The main attraction is the Spanish food,” he said.

The festival, originally on Himrod Avenue in Youngstown, was begun to bring the Spanish community together. Proceeds from the festival go to Sta. Rose de Lima Church.

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