Despite some early rain, the festivities were not dampened at the third annual Lebanon Hispanic Multicultural Festival on Oct. 7.
The event was filled with the sound of music, the smell of fresh food, and plenty of festivities for attendees.
The festival, organized by Juntos de Lebanon, sought both to bring together Lebanon’s Hispanic community and share it with others in the community.
“It’s not just for Hispanics, it’s for all people really, for Hispanic heritage month,” said Guadalupe Barba, Juntos De Lebanon founder and co-owner of La Placita. “When you put together in our culture the food, and people, and music, it’s a big party all the time.
“We try to enjoy this day, enjoy our culture, enjoy our city.”
Vendors from around Lebanon County set up with wares celebrating Hispanic heritage and culture.
Elia Stoudt of Fredericksburg was one of these vendors, bringing a colorful array of goods from accessories to traditional dolls.
She has attended the festival all three years, she said, and of the events she attends, it is one of her favorites.
“I love it, it’s awesome,” Stoudt said. “I love people coming from different backgrounds, because it’s not only from Hispanics. We have attendance from everybody here.”
The festival has grown from around 10 vendors its first year to over 40 this year, Barba said.
Juntos de Lebanon vice-chair Cesar Liriano said he hopes the event only grows with time.
“The goal for this event is to get the Latino community a little more involved in our community,” said Liriano. “The Latino community has grown a lot in the last couple years. We want this event to be growing every year.”
According to the 2022 census, around 44 percent of Lebanon city’s population is Hispanic or Latino.
“Sometimes, people see the Latinos as not something good for the city,” explained Liriano. “We want to prove that we come here to work, we come here to improve the city. We bring a lot to the city, culturally and economically.
“We are a diverse community; when we get together we can bring a lot to the community.”
The festival included offerings from local restaurants including La Placita, Mamajuana, and Javi Restaurant, serving a variety of treats from a variety of cultures.
Attendees could also watch a live mariachi band and a salsa big band, showing off the vibrant music the Hispanic community is known for.
“We are music, we are a happy community,” said Liriano. “That’s why if you go to any Latino event, you’re always going to hear a lot of music.”
On top of organizing the Lebanon Hispanic Multicultural Festival, Juntos de Lebanon serves the community through a variety of programs, ranging from job fairs to music and art programs to helping locals obtain citizenship.
“We work with children, we work with music, we work with different people. It’s not just one program,” Barba said of the organization.
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