Swivel your hips to salsa music. Move to the beats of cumbia from Colombia, bachata from the Dominican Republic and samba from Brazil. It’s all part of Maplewood’s first Hispanic Heritage festival, a community event that will entertain the entire family.
Somos SOMA Latinos, working with the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs and Cross Cultural Works, the organizers of Diwali Fest NJ and Lunar Fest NJ, is putting together a free event you surely don’t want to miss.
Hola! Fest NJ 2018 will take place Saturday, Sept. 29 from noon to 6 p.m. It will have Latin food, vendors, and a slew of cultural entertainment and children’s activities. Kids can get Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, face paintings and decorate Spanish fans. Adults can play dominos and buy cigars. The whole family can enjoy entertainers with performances from across Latin America. Don’t know how to dance salsa? You can learn from dance instructors.
Maplewood and surrounding towns have a fast-growing Hispanic population that is becoming a close-knit community.
Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the area, now representing about 8 percent of the population, based on school enrollment numbers, with its numbers significantly rising every year.
Come learn about our rich and beautiful culture.
About the organizers:
Somos SOMA Latino, a volunteer community group, has held many community events, including a Three Kings day celebration, a Brazilian-style carnival party and a Hispanic Heritage evening event that was a huge success. It is also a philanthropic organization that, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of its members, has donated thousands of dollars to Dreamers, Puerto Rico recovery efforts and to a Venezuelan group that assists transgender exiles.
SOMA Cross-Cultural Works Inc. is the local non-profit organization behind last year’s inaugural Diwali Fest NJ and this year’s Lunar Fest NJ, two events that were a smashing success. It has once again partnered with the Township of Maplewood to help host Maplewood’s first Hispanic Heritage celebration.
Maplewood Township has shown itself to be one of the most welcoming and multicultural town in New Jersey. It boasts one of the largest Pride festivals in the state and has hosted events for many community groups. The town promotes and celebrates diversity and inclusion.
Update September 24, 2018:
Tango from Argentina, flamenco from Spain, cumbia from Colombia, capoeira and samba from Brazil and mariachis from Mexico – the cultural entertainment at Hola Fest, which is free, is probably the most extensive Latin festival you’ve ever attended.
There will be plenty for everyone at Hola Fest, Maplewood’s first Hispanic Heritage festival taking place this Saturday at the Woodland.
It will feature Latin food from El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico — and more — and a slew of cultural entertainment and children’s activities. Kids (and adults) can get Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, face paintings as they learn about this wonderful cultural tradition, and decorate carnival masks. Adults can play dominos and buy cigars. The whole family can enjoy entertainers with performances from across Latin America.
Mayor Victor De Luca and Vice Mayor Frank McGehee will lead a merengue contest where you could be named the Hola Fest merengue champion.
Somos SOMA Latinos, working with the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs and Cross Cultural Works, the organizers of Diwali Fest NJ and Lunar Fest NJ, is putting together this free event you surely don’t want to miss.
Hola! Fest NJ 2018 will take place this Saturday, Sept. 29 from noon to 6 p.m.
Here’s the performance agenda:
12:00 PM – Festival Opening
Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, and Phillip Klint, Emmy Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor/producer for NY1 Noticias, will open the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month as Master of Ceremonies
12:15 PM – Tango
Karina Romero, a professional tango dancer from Argentina is the executive director of New Generation Dance Company in New York City, has studied with the world’s most influential tango instructors and has performed in tango shows and festivals across the world
12:45 PM – Salay Bolivia USA
A Bolivian dance group that will perform traditional Andean dances
1:00 PM – Flamenco
Antonia (Toni) Messina is a professional Flamenco dancer and teacher who has danced in the U.S. and abroad for over 20 years. She currently teaches in Maplewood through the South Orange/Maplewood Adult School.
2:00 PM – Capoeira
The Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey brings you capoeira, an Afro Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music and acrobatics. The cultural center, located in Bloomfield, NJ, is home to many Brazilian arts.
2:30 PM – Tinkus San Simon
A folkloric dance group bringing you indigenous traditions from South America.
3:00 – Colombian folkloric dance
iCal from Hackensack brings you the rich, folkloric rhythms and dances from the streets of Colombia.
3:15 – Official welcome
Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca and Vice Mayor Frank McGehee will address the audience and welcome the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month as an opportunity to continue strengthening our town diversity.
3:30 – Merengue Contest
Maplewood Mayor Victor De Luca and Vice Mayor Frank McGehee will lead a dance where you can be the “Hola Fest merengue champion.”
4:00 – Tonantzin Coatlicue
Tonantzin Coatlicue is an indigenous-infused dance group that transports you to the jungles of Ecuador and Mexico so you can experience a rich, tribal ritual.
4:15 – Salsa
Professional salsa dancers at Yenyere Dance studio in Union City will be sure to bring the house down. Featured in “America’s got talent,” they take salsa dancing to a whole new level.
4:30 – Mariachis
The crowd will be serenaded by Mariachi Nuevo Mexico, one of the few bilingual mariachi bands in the area.
5:15 – Samba
The festival will close with a spectacular display of samba. Danielle Lima, a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will lead a three-person samba extravaganza sure to rock the house down.
5:50 – Closing
Announce Raffle winners and close Hola Fest 2018