Celebrating culture was what last Saturday was all about.
Loud music, dancing, food, vendors and dozens of people filled Second Street for Hispanics United of Perry (HUP)’s annual Latino Fest, ¡Viva Perry!.
The celebration kicked off with a parade then a street party followed. Festivalgoers witnessed colorful men, women, boy and girl dancers, from Minnesota, Nebraska and other parts of the state, take over Second and Warford Streets. A petting zoo, food vendors and local businesses were also available for festivalgoers.
Perry High School juniors brought a dunk tank to help raise money for their prom.
Throughout the festival live music or a dj was playing. La Chicanita, of La Ley— a Latino radio station, was hosting the event.
Cinthia Narjano, 16, was named festival queen. Various high school aged girls competed for the crown by selling tickets. The girl that raised the most money got the crown. Narjano raised more than $200. As queen the young lady will be involved in the community and act as a mentor for young ladies. “I’m very pleased to be representing the city of Perry and Perry High School,” the queen said. “I vow to be actively involved in the community, whether it is helping out at the nursing home to participating in next year’s Latino festival.”
The money raised will go towards the HUP scholarship. Rosa Gonzalez, with HUP, said the event went well.
“It’s a big turn out,” Gonzalez said. “We saw people lining up, looking for the parade and people coming there. It’s a lot of hours but people have been showing up and it looks like they are having a lot of fun. We are pleased with how things came out.”
Brothers Javier Andrade, of Perry, and Fernando, of Iowa City, said they enjoyed the festival.
“This is my first time, so far this is great,” Fernando said.
Javier said it’s a change of pace.
“It’s a nice change of pace— having this festival is a nice break from anything and everything that’s going on lately,” Javier said. “It’s a nice thing to have— people the same, like-minded, all in one place. It’s nice to have.”
Yandi Darco, of Perry, brought her child, niece and cousin to the festival.
“I’ve been coming here (Latino festivals in Perry) since I was in kindergarten,” Darco said. “This year is has been better than the last four or five years. I love that it’s on the Main Street and it’s a nice day. There’s also not a lot of people. Last year it was pretty hot and in the park. It’s a lot better here. People can have their own business and it’s spread out. The park was crowded.”
Roberto Gorlejo, of Perry, was one of the festival’s vendors. He was selling various Latino foods including corn on the cob.
“It’s fun,” Gorlejo said.
Iris Diaz, of Perry, was a Quinceanera in the parade.
“Latino Fest is a lot of fun,” Diaz said. “I like this year more because I got to be in it and I like that it’s a way to celebrate culture.”
The ¡Viva Perry! Festival is the primary fundraiser for HUP, with proceeds supporting scholarships for graduating seniors and continuing education. HUP counts on the support of the Perry Community in their efforts. Contributions to the HUP scholarships can be earmarked for HUP to Daniel Rivera at Raccoon Valley Bank: 1202 Second Street, 50220.