Latin festival to feature music and food on Hilton Head Island

abredeson@islandpacket.comOctober 17, 2012 

Banda Cielo Azul del Pacifico will preform at the New River Auto Mall Latin Music Festival Oct. 21

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  • The New River Auto Mall Latin Music Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Oct. 21. Cost is $2 a person; children younger than 12 are free. Food may be purchased with cash, and drinks will be available by tickets. Details: 843-681-2393 or www.laislamagazine.com

Live music by salsa, bachata, merengue, flamenco and regional Mexican bands. Seventy-one vendors. A NASCAR simulator. And a flash mob by the Bluffton High School dance squad.

It's been five years since a Latin festival has been on Hilton Head Island, La Isla Magazine publisher Eric Esquivel said. Esquivel was involved in the Sabor Latino festival years ago. But it went by the wayside, and he thought it was time to start something new.

Sponsored by New River Auto Mall, Hilton Head Hospital and several others, the purpose of the Latin Music Festival is to celebrate the Hispanic community in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The festival will take place Oct. 21 at Shelter Cove Community Park on Hilton Head Island.

"The big thing is the food," Esquivel said. "We're going to have Colombian food, Honduran, Mexican, Caribbean, Jamaican; you name it. We've got 21 food vendors so a little bit of everything from traditional Latin sweets all the way through empanadas, tacos al pastor and then good old Jamaican jerk chicken."

Another part of the festival will be the crowning of the first Ms. La Isla Magazine.

The idea behind the pageant is to give back to local organizations that have helped the Hispanic community.

Pageant contestants had to be of Hispanic descent, between ages 18 and 27, bilingual and have a desire to serve their community.

Semifinalists were selected by popular vote Sept. 19 on La Isla's Facebook page. Esquivel said 34,000 people voted on the page within a month.

The three semifinalists have been competing to see who can raise the most money for an assigned organization -- the Pregnancy Center & Clinic of the Low Country, Volunteers in Medicine or the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association. So far they have each raised about $500, according to Esquivel.

The contestant who raises the most money will be crowned Miss La Isla Magazine at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The proceeds will be distributed equally among the three nonprofit groups.

"We're excited to be putting it on," Esquivel said. "The whole idea is to bring the community together to acknowledge the growing Hispanic community and celebrate the diversity and cultural positives they bring to our community."

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