Hispanic Festival Continues UT Race Equality Week

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will host a Hispanic Heritage Festival at noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the University Center Plaza.

This is the fifth year for the festival, which is part of the National League of Cities’ Race Equality Week and the annual national Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from mid-September to mid-October.

Loida Velazquez, UT adjunct professor of educational psychology, said the festival is co-sponsored by HoLa, a local Hispanic group whose name is short for Hora Latina, the Spanish term for “Latin hour.”

Lambda Theta Alpha, the UT Latin sorority, also is a co-sponsor.

“The group is interested in highlighting Latino culture and building bridges to other cultures in the Knoxville community,” Velazquez said.

“Latinos are very expressive. Every celebration that we have always features music and good food, and for us to have this opportunity to express ourselves is great.”

Tables will be set up along the plaza, spotlighting different Latin American countries with cultural displays, artwork, maps and videos.

Musicians will play throughout the day, performing different musical styles such as salsa, meringue, norteño and cumbia.

Children’s activities will be available throughout the day, and HoLa and other community agencies such as Safespace, Alianza del Pueblo and the Highlander Center will provide information about their services.

The festival continues Saturday night with a performance by the Borinquen Dance Theatre at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are $1 for UT students and employees and $3 for the general public.

Danielle Smith of Lambda Theta Alpha sorority said the show is an exciting slice of Caribbean culture.

“It’s a blend of Puerto Rican, African and Taino Indian dances, and we brought it to Knoxville to attract more people to the festival and to increase their awareness of the Hispanic culture,” Smith said.