Hispanic Festival brings cultural flair to Augusta

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Terri Rhodes stood in the shade at the Augusta Common on Saturday, watching people mill about and listening to the Latin music that blared from loudspeakers while the next band set up at the 21st annual Hispanic Festival.

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Francis Taueras, left and Angel Bautista dance to the tunes at the Hispanic Festival held at the Augusta Common.  MIKE ADAMS/SPECIAL
MIKE ADAMS/SPECIAL
Francis Taueras, left and Angel Bautista dance to the tunes at the Hispanic Festival held at the Augusta Common.

She said she came in search of authentic Mexican food.

“I can’t find a good Hispanic restaurant anywhere,” she said.

Rhodes spent years in San Fran­cisco and fell in love with the Mexican food there. She transferred to Augusta from Salt Lake City three years ago with the Veterans Health Administration and has been coming to the Hispanic Festival ever since.

“I’m bored in Augusta. There’s not much going on,” she said. “So when there’s something down here in the Common I usually come.”

This year’s festival featured more food vendors and children’s activities, along with a much larger Miss Latina pageant, said Rhonda Carey, the director of membership and recruitment for the Asociación Cultural Hispanoamericana, which organized the festival.

“I don’t know the exact number, but we have three times as many contestants,” she said.

Carey said her favorite part of the festival is the music.

“I love all the different groups that we have. We have groups from all different places: Panama, Puerto Rico, Mexico,” she said.

Many countries were represented at the festival, creating variety in the food, music and dance. The lineup included Aztec dancers, a mariachi band, and cha cha and merengue demonstrations.

Clyde Cooks has lived in Au­gusta for years, but this is the first year he’s come to the festival.

“I had softball practice this morning. A lot of the parents were talking about the festival downtown. I figured I’d go ahead and try it today,” said Cooks, who teaches at Sego Middle School.

He finished up a sausage dog and said the festival was very nice. He had not yet tried any of the Hispanic food.

“I’m going to get some, though,” he said.

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edtheace
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edtheace 10/15/13 - 02:01 pm
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Hispanic Festival #21 , Best Ever!

This year the 21st Hispanic Festival was the best ever. It was held @ The Augusta Commons this past weekend. "It went above & beyong our expectations, WE had over 25,000 people for the two day event, and the Beauty of it all was that everyone was getting along just fine" said Ed Acevedo- Secretary and spokesperson for ACHA / Asociación Cultural Hispanoamericana a non-profit organization that has been organizing the Hispanic Festival since 1992 for the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area).
For the first time there was the Miss Señorita Latina 2013 Pagant opened up to four diferent categories ranging from 7 to 18 years old. "WE teached the Girls that the real Beauty comes from within" said Wilma López The Coordinator for Miss Latina 2013.
Among the Activities that they performed this year one that made the greatest impact here at home that touched many lives was the distribution of more than 200 Sandwiches & Drinks prepared by the 23 contestants in downtown Augusta that help feed the homeless.
Miss Señorita Latina 2013 brought in huge crowds according to officials.
There were also New Vendors from over 15 Spanish Speaking countries selling Food from Puerto Rico, Panamá, México, Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador just to mentioned a few.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver opened up the official Activities on Friday, Oct 11 and mentioned The importante of the Hispanic Community in our City and The Beauty of Diversity, he had a chance to speak a little bit of Spanish with the crowds and danced a little bit of Salsa! There were many Religious Organizations represented at the festival including Father Pablo Migone from Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Pastor Héctor Cáceres from Nueva Vida Ministries and Angel Maestre from Oasis de Bendición among others, they all agreed that it was a total success and that the hispanic Community was United!

Local politicians were on scene sharing with the people.

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