HOLA Fest debuts in Youngstown

Say hello to HOLA Fest, which debuts Saturday at Wean Foundation Park.

HOLA stands for Hispanic Or Latin American, and the festival is designed to celebrate that culture in Youngstown.

Christopher Colon, one of the event’s organizers, said the city has hosted Hispanic festivals in the past, but it hasn’t for a few years.

“We wanted to make sure it was in downtown Youngstown,” he said. “We put together a planning team and with the support of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley as our title sponsor, it allowed us to get some big name musical acts.”

Cleveland Latin jazz artist Sammy Deleon, who will do two setS on the main stage at 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. to close out the event, along with Grupo Fuego and Conjunto Sabroso, will perform on the main stage. Afternoon events include a cultural pageant, students from Ursuline High School and dance instructions on the pageant stage, and a SMARTS drum circle and a Zumba lesson in the vendor lot.

The festival will start at noon with a parade that goes from the Youngstown Flea building, 365 E. Boardman St., to the Covelli Centre lot. Colon said about 40 units are signed up for the parade.

Food and crafts also will be among the offerings for the inaugural event.

“Hispanic culture is defined by food,” Colon said. “We’ll have established local businesses, food trucks and people cooking out of their homes that we helped get licenses so they could be there on site.”

Many immigrants from other countries have established themselves in the United States by starting businesses out of their homes, Colon said, so they wanted to have a area where vendors could sell their creations.

HOLA fest runs from noon to 9 p.m. at Wean Foundation Park, 201 S. Phelps St., Youngstown. Admission is free.



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