Sunday, September 14, 2003

Hispanic Festival marks 10th year

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Justin Leite, 3, and his sister Christina, 8, of Florence, paint a mask at the 10th annual Cincinnati Hispanic Fest in Carthage.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
CARTHAGE - Bringing the spice of Hispanic culture to the Queen City for its 10th year, the annual Hispanic Festival continues to break down barriers and encourage understanding.

The festival, at St.Charles Borromeo Church-Su Casa Hispanic Ministry Center in Carthage, offers booths selling clothing, jewelry and food from Central and South America and Spain.

The two-day festival, which runs from noon to 8 p.m. today, expects to draw more than 20,000 people this year, according to Colombia-born organizer Teresita Lewis of Cincinnati.

As the crowd walked through the booths and listened to salsa music, 18-year-old Paula Rojas of Anderson Township served food from her native Ecuador.

After her mother came to Cincinnati 10 years ago as a Fulbright Scholar at University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Rojas said she had no Hispanic friends.

Now, serving ceviche (a spicy shrimp and raw fish dish), and hornado (grilled pork in bread), she said the festival illustrates the growth of the region's Hispanic population.

"We knew two people when we first came here," the UC nursing student said. "But now, it's good to know I'm not one of the only Hispanic persons here."

Proceeds go toward medical, legal and other help for new Hispanic immigrants in Cincinnati.

If you go

What: Hispanic Festival.

When: Noon-8 p.m. today.

Where: St. Charles Borromeo Church, Fairpark and Seymour avenues, Carthage. Free parking at Hamilton County Fairgrounds with shuttle bus to festival.

Information: 761-1588.


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