DOBSON — In its second year, Dobson’s Latin Festival offered those who attended a lot of fun and a little glimpse of Hispanic culture.
Event organizer and town employee Marlene Lopez said by midafternoon she had seen a steady stream of people enjoying the day’s activities at Dobson Square Park on Saturday.
“It’s been a little slower than last year, but I hope it gets better,” said Lopez at about 3 p.m. “It has been steady though.”
Saturday’s Latin Festival began at noon and ended at 9 p.m.
At this year’s event, the town brought in a company which supplies inflatable games for children. Kids could be seen taking part in games such as a mechanical bull, gladiator joust, hungry hippo chow down, wrecking ball and a rat race.
However, Lopez said the real value of the event is in exposing those who turn out to the culture.
“There is a lot of culture here,” remarked Lopez. “The food is not anything you could find at a fast food restaurant or even a Mexican restaurant.”
Lopez said other activities exposing the culture included a mariachi band and traditional dancing. One thing the event helps to capture is how “tight-knit the community is.”
“I think it’s great we offer an event which exposes everybody to certain elements of Latin culture,” said Town Manager Josh Smith, before making mention of the food crafts at the event.
“I think events like this help bridge gaps,” explained Smith. “It fosters a better sense of togetherness and understanding among all segments of our community.”
Smith was at the event, selling T-shirts and raffle tickets alongside other town administration employees. He noted more than 20 percent of the town’s population was Hispanic at the time of the last census.
While Smith said the Latin Festival is “a great way to experience something different,” the event is only one of many the town holds at Dobson Square Park.
“I’m a firm believer residents see more value in the town when community events like this are held,” said Smith in explaining why the town hosts so many activities at the new park.
“There is no better way to create a community-oriented culture than through free events like this.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.