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Hispanic Heritage Festival-More Than Dancing and Music
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A nice little crowd gathered to listen to the mariachi music.
   
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Popular Top 40 tunes sporting a mariachi flair drifted across Bullion Street as the fifth annual Hispanic Heritage Festival took to the streets of Hailey Saturday.

A Salt Lake Vendor sold cowboy boots made out of cobra, ostrich and lizard skin in Guanajuato, Mexico, while another vendor hawked an impressive set of stainless-steel cookware. Hailey Police officers handed out stickers to children and vendors spread carnitas meat on tortillas for long lines of people.

“We closed off the street this year, rather than hold it in the park, to bring business to the local businesses and acknowledge the contributions of those who are in downtown Hailey,” said organizer Herbert Romero. “We partner with the library. We do business with the restaurants. I want this to be a place where the Hispanic community mingles with the community.”

 
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Dressy cowboy boots made in Mexico were on display.
 

A group of about 20 kicked this year’s festival off by gathering at La Cabanita Mex Restaurant to join  their compadres in Mexico with a shout as the President of Mexico rang a 200-year-old bell and recited the Grito de Dolores speech given by a Catholic priest in 1810.

“It’s the battle cry of Dolores,” said Romero.

The battle cry was sounded by a Catholic priest in the town of Dolores who’d tired of Spanish oppression and so rang his church bell and demanded the end of Spanish rule. That started the brutal Mexican War of Independence, which lasted until 1821.

Hispanic Heritage Festival, which started during the Johnson Administration to acknowledge the contributions of Hispanic population to the nation, coincides with Mexican Independence Day.

 
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Eduardo Escalera helped youngsters make paper flowers.
 

About 13 percent of Idaho’s 1.7 million people are Hispanic. Hispanics make up nearly 23 percent of the Blaine County population.

Hispanic Heritage Month goes from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, and will include a few more local events this week.

  • The Bellevue Public Library will celebrate Hispanic heritage from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, with reading and other activities for families.
  • The second annual Hispanic Heritage Festival in Carey will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Itty Bitty Farms.
  • A Hispanic Heritage Festival will be held Sunday, Sept. 25, at Freedom Park in Burley.

“Our Hispanic Heritage Festival has grown into so much more than a festival with music and dancing,” said Romero. “Friday night we had a lecture on artist Frida Kahlo—I did not know she was the wife of Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s other famous artists. Knowing that takes my life to another level.”

 
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Monica, an intern at The Advocates showed off a variety of services provided by The Advocates, including a free booklet for teens on achieving healthy relationships.
 

He looked around the festival.

“We have people coming from Jerome, Burley, Utah. We have members of the Sheriff’s department and Hailey Police Department, who are friends with us. We have Blaine County Charitable Fund and The Advocates with us.”

He turned as he watched a white trailer back in. The trailer, from South Central District Health in Twin Falls, carried a small crew ready to dispense flu and COVID shots on the spot.

“The public health department here—that’s key to the health of our community,” Romero added.

 
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Street food ranged from picarones—a Peruvian doughnut—to tacos.
 

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