Port Washington’s First Town-Wide Hispanic Heritage Celebration A Success

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    Over 200 guests dance, make crafts and celebrate diversity on Main Street

    Women dressed in various Hispanic culture’s traditional clothing.

    Over 200 people celebrated Hispanic Heritage at Port Washington’s first town-wide event this Oct. 9 at Blumenfeld Park on Main Street, an event brought to you by the Parent Resource Center in partnership with Landmark on Main Street and the Port Washington Public Library.

    The celebration began with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting where New York State Assemblyperson Gina Sillitti performed the honors. Other honored guests at the festival included Betsy Golan, District Representative for Senator Anna Kaplan; North Hempstead Councilperson Mariann Dalimonte and Port Washington Police Commissioner Frank Scobbo.

    Local officials and event organizers kicking off the celebration.

    The festival began as a way to celebrate Latin American heritage and promote pride among our children of Latin American background.

    “We wanted to create an event that would celebrate our beautifully diverse Latin American cultures through food, music and language,” said PRC Executive Board Member and event CoChair Diana Delgado Kollar. “We wanted this event to be a community-wide event, where everyone was welcome to celebrate.”

    Young girls performing.

    The Fiesta in the Park delivered. Festival-goers enjoyed delicious food options like empanadas, arepas and tacos by Cochinita Porky food truck and Puerto Rican pastries by Abuelitas Desserts, a new addition to the Port Washington community by Isaac Santiago, a new resident of Puerto Rican background previously in the food truck business. Smusht worked hard in the weeks leading up to the event perfecting ice cream with a Latin American twist – their churro infused ice cream was a huge hit on this warm October day.

    Children doing arts and crafts. (Contributed photos)

    A 9-piece orchestra, Los 9 del Sabor, kept guests of all ages moving to the beats of classic salsa, cumbia and merengue hits. Port mom Yolotzin Terrazas, owner of Language by Yoli, a language and dance school, led her students in a 3-part performance featuring Encanto songs. Elementary school kids from Sousa, Manorhaven and others stole the show during this recital. During the second intermission, Ms. Yoli coordinated a runway show of typical Mexican dresses, while event MCs, and Port parents, Ana Agon Diaferia, mom of two and Diana Delgado Kollar, mom of three, provided details about their make, design and meaning. Modeling these dresses were 3 Schreiber High School students, one student from St. Mary’s of Manhasset and two local moms. The colorful displays and choreography were breathtaking.

    Amazing nonprofits offered quality crafts and entertainment for kids. Event partner PWPL had a passport for children that was stamped at each of its tables which represented 6 different Latin American countries. Marcie Zack of Laffey Realty had yo-yo crafts and balloon animals, Jordan Wolf and the Audubon Society had bird masks and a photo exhibition of his Amazon travels. Other organizations included the Be the Rainbow, Manorhaven PTA and its Diversity Committee, Long Island Together and NY Hope offering things from bracelets and puppets to facepainting and self-portraits.

    Performers dancing at the celebration.

    The event concluded with a poetry reading in Spanish by Port resident Josslyn Portillo titled “Las disculpas” (“Apologies”) which was read in English and Spanish.

    Guatemala table displaying cultural items.

    This is the first time three major nonprofits, the PRC, Landmark on Main and PWPL joined together to deliver a community event. The PWPL through its executive director Keith Klang, created a program in the month leading up to the event that celebrated Hispanic Heritage. In addition, funds provided allowed for quality crafts occupying 6 full-size tables and staff dressed in traditional garb. Landmark on Main Street hosted the panel discussion on Oct. 2 that featured notable guest NY State Secretary Richard Rodriguez and NY State Chief Diversity Officer Julissa Gutierrez in a candid interview with Port resident and communications industry veteran, Liz Blacker. Landmark on Main also provided the stage and sound support for the festival.

    Plans are already in the works for a second annual HHC in Port Washington. The details will be finalized next year, but if anyone is interested in participating or sponsoring they should reach out to hispanicheritagepw@gmail.com now.

    —Submitted by the Parent Rescource Center

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