Colorado Latino Festival Organizers Gearing up for Second Year in Longmont

Paulina Sanchez-Trujillo, with the Baila Conmigo Dance Company, dances the Marinera, a Peruvian dance, during the Colorado Latino Festival in Longmont in 2016. (File photo)

If you go

What: Colorado Latino Festival

When: noon to 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Third to Sixth Avenues, Main Street, Longmont

Cost: Free

More info: To volunteer, go to

On Sunday, a section of Longmont’s Main Street will combine Salvadorian food, Cuban salsa music, kid-friendly activities and community vendors.

The Latino Chamber of Commerce and Barrio E’ will host the Colorado Latino Festival on the downtown stretch of Main from noon to 7 p.m.

Latino Chamber Executive Director Jose Beteta and his wife, Barrio E’ Director Tamil Maldonado, are spearheading the festival in its second year.

Barrio E’ strives to promote cultural diversity in Boulder County arts.

Beteta said the theme of the festival this year is the same as last year’s — unity.

“We want to bring everyone together and make them feel like family through food and music and culture and we also want to teach the community about the vastness of the Latino culture,” Beteta said. “Latinos kind of get categorized as a monoculture, but really there are African, European, Caribbean and indigenous aspects to it.”

There will be 115 vendors at the festival and 16 food vendors, offering everything from Peruvian to Chilean to Colombian fare.

Maldonado and Barrio E’ are organizing the entertainment, featuring Son Moreno, a Cuban salsa band.

Other acts include Roka Hueka, a Latin ska band; Mono Verde, a Latin reggae band; Bateria Alegria, a Boulder samba school; Las Dahlias, a female mariachi band; Malu, a Peruvian folkloric dance troupe; Timbalín the Clown; and the Suavé Car Club of Longmont.

There will be a beer garden offering Boulder-based and Latino-owned Raices Brewing Company beers as well as Cerveza Imperial, a Costa Rican beer.

Programming will be in both English and Spanish, Beteta said, adding that the festival is for everybody.

“Everyone is invited, and their mamas and grandmamas and dogs too,” Beteta said.

Beteta ran into financial problems last year with the first Colorado Latino Festival. Beteta’s father was struggling with cancer in 2016 and died shortly before the festival, causing Beteta to spend a lot of his time traveling between Colorado and Maryland and cutting his fundraising efforts short.

Beteta and other Latino Chamber members implored the City Council to give $10,000 to the festival. The festival went on, drawing about 7,000 people, and Boulder Valley School District and St. Vrain Valley School District each gave $2,500 to ease the festival’s financial woes. Eventually, the council granted the festival $500.

Beteta said as soon as the 2016 festival ended, he and Maldonado starting planning and finding sponsors for the 2017 event.

In 2018, however, there will be a change in venue. The Colorado Latino Festival will move to Boulder.

“We named it the Colorado Latino Festival because we wanted it to be kind of nomadic,” Beteta said. “We are in talks right now with Boulder for 2018.”

Beteta said the 2017 festival is already drawing vendors and acts from as far away as Cheyenne, Wyo., and Taos, N.M.

“It’s reaching even farther than statewide and is really going regional,” he said.

Karen Antonacci: 303-684-5226, or

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