Scorching temperatures didn’t put a damper on the annual Killeen Hispanic Heritage Festival.
Attendees sought refuge under the main tent Saturday at the Killeen Community Center, which enabled them to watch the diverse array of performances.
“We want to expose the community to what Hispanic culture has to offer,” said Ja’Net Saucedo, vice president for youth for the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 4535, which hosted the event. “When we were reaching out to vendors to participate, some of them would say, ‘But we are not Hispanic,’ and our feeling is that this isn’t a Hispanic exclusive event — it’s a community event where everyone is welcome.”
Kicking off the event, Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin read a proclamation in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
Boy Scout Troop 255 Longhorn Council out of Harker Heights posted the colors.
“I love Hispanic culture,” said festival first-timer Carol Kimball of Harker Heights. “The tamales here are just fabulous.”
Maria Hernandez of Killeen attended the annual festival for the first time with her family.
“This is really a fantastic event, and I’m glad we came today,” Hernandez said.
Even the youngest of festival goers were entertained by the event’s lineup of musical acts and performances, which included several dances from the Cultura Filipiniana Arts Dance Troupe.
“I really liked all the dancers,” said Yarezsally Quintanilla, 4.
Raul Villaronga, president of Killeen’s LULAC Council 4535, said the event is a great way to bring people together and to embrace the diversity found within the area.
“The festival gives people the opportunity to find out more about the diversity of foods, customs, traditions and music that we have here in Killeen,” he said. “It’s a cultural exchange within the community and my hope is that we can continue to share and learn from each other.”
Festival highlights included a variety of vendors, a car show, bounce houses for children, live music and performances.