Fun, Food and Tradition Takes Place at Heritage Festival

Simply Panama took the stage to show festival goers how to  do the traditional dance. Photos by Mahoganie Reckley

Simply Panama took the stage to show festival goers how to do the traditional dance.
Photos by Mahoganie Reckley




By Mahoganie Reckley
Outlook Writer

No one could escape the blistering heat from the unforgiving Tallahassee sun at this year’s Hispanic festival program. But even that couldn’t stop people from coming out to enjoy the authentic food and music, while diving-in head first into each country’s culture.

Festival goers’ reasons for coming may have been different but each one left with a broader scope of Hispanic heritage.

John and Nancy Madden, husband and wife of 53 years, came to the festival to enjoy great music and to be a part of the community coming together.

“Oh, it’s just great to see the community come together, promoting fellowship, camaraderie, fun. It’s just a positive thing for the community,” John Madden said.
Perry Walker, first-time festival attendee had one goal in mind for coming to the event.

“I came to eat tacos,” Walker admitted. But he added that he truly understood the importance of having festival such as this. “I think it’s important to have cultural events to recognize and respect the culture of others.”

This year made it 22 years that the Hispanic festival has been sharing culture with the Tallahassee community. The festival brings the countries of Panama, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru to life with live entertainment.

Dancing performances complete with traditional costumes from local performers. Fresh Latin food prepared on the spot and served with a smile. Five dollar horse rides and face painting served as the main events for children. Adults took a look at every booth to see all the hand-crafted art pieces.

Elisa Burns, long-time festival participant, thinks it’s important to be a part of events such as these to show diversity in the local community. She enjoyed coming out and expressing the culture of Panama through food with her family.

“My favorite part is the food and the culture. We love the music. We like getting out and doing Zumba. It can be burning up. It can rain. But we come back year after year because we meet people from our community who we’ve never met before. We get to meet people and get to share the culture with them” said Burns.

The soundtrack to the day’s event was an all-inclusive mix of Hispanic music created to keep people on their feet dancing. While many others took to get their fill of rice and beans, chicken, empanadas, tortillas, fresh Pico de Gallo and many others dishes. Truly this was an activity that the whole family could have enjoyed.

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