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Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival returns this weekend with scholarships, entertainment and more

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DES MOINES: Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival will offer academic scholarships, access to political candidates, entertainment, food and more at this weekend’s two-day event.

“Living la Fiesta” will give Iowans a chance to enjoy a diverse combination of art exhibits, Latin food and musical performances during the two-day festival, which celebrates the positive influences of Latinos in Iowa and its communities.

The festival is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, in Western Gateway Park, 1330 Grand Ave. in downtown Des Moines. Free parking is available in the Nationwide ramp at 1100 Walnut St. Cost to attend the Latino Heritage Festival is $5; children 12 and younger are free.

Festival, sponsors to give out 23 scholarships

Festival organizers will award five students with academic scholarships. Sponsors will contribute another 18 scholarships.

“One of the founding principles of the festival is to honor and support our youth,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc., the umbrella organization that oversees the festival.

Each individual will receive a $1,000 academic scholarship to further his or her education.

Festival connects Latinos to political candidates

The Civic Engagement and Education Soapbox will return to this year’s festival to connect Latinos to state and local candidates running for elected office and to ensure those candidates are listening to Iowa’s largest minority group.

The soapbox will be broadcast via Facebook Live from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through the Facebook page of sponsor ¿Que Pasa Iowa? A recording of the soapbox also will be available on the Facebook page for future viewing.

Current health, economic, labor and political issues will be discussed. This will be a nonpartisan program that will provide a comfortable, familiar and linguistically accessible platform for Latino voters and others to watch and listen to the candidates.

“We hope this soapbox will provide our Latino community with direct access to candidates, so we can learn about the issues that are of most interest and importance to us,” said Claudia Thrane, owner of ¿Que Pasa Iowa? and candidate interviewer.

Candidates can schedule a time at the soapbox by emailing Alba Perez:

For more information about the festival, visit, or find Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival on Facebook.

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