Latin festival could be come major annual gathering

On Saturday, a new — but hopefully annual — event took place in Dobson, when local resident Marlene Lopez and a few other volunteers put on the Dobson Latin Festival.

The event featured a number of vendors and entertainment, as all festivals do, but these were of a decidedly Hispanic flavor, with mulitas, huaraches, quesadillas, tacos, burritos and Cuban-flavored pork and chicken sandwiches among the fare offered to those attending, along with Hispanic-style musical numbers, many of which were sung in Spanish.

Organizers of the festival said there really aren’t any festivals of this nature in the general region, and that having one was long overdue, particularly given the concentration of folks of Hispanic heritage in the Dobson area, and we agree.

Roughly 10 percent of the county’s 73,000 population is Hispanic, and holding this festival is a small way to acknowledge their heritage and contributions to the community. It also offered an opportunity, as Mount Airy School Superintendent Dr. Greg Little pointed out while attending the event, for local folks to gain a little bit of exposure to another culture, especially for students in the school system’s dual-language immersion program.

It appears the event was a success, and all who attended had fun and maybe learned a little something.

Equally as important, this could be the start of something that pays off economically for the area. Not to make too much of the first efforts, but some of the region’s biggest events — Autumn Leaves Festival, Mayberry Days, and the Pilot Mountain cruise-ins — started out as smaller, one-of-a-kind events that have grown to large, multi-day productions which draws hundreds of thousands of people to the area throughout the year. And that offers a boost to the local economy.

Being the region’s first Latin Festival could mean this becomes a significant annual event for Dobson as well. While it might not grow beyond a single-day event, it still holds promise for becoming an important annual gathering for everyone of all ethic and cultural backgrounds. We hope local officials and businesses will offer sponsorship and support should festival organizers wish to continue the event and help it grow.

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