Three years ago, Bill Garcia had a vision.
He recognized that in Salt Lake City there is an abundance of Hispanic groups, and he wanted to introduce the rest of the valley to them.That's how the Hispanic Festival began, according to festival co-chairwoman Maria Farrington. "We have people from Mexico, Peru, Guatamala, Costa Rica and more. Bill was proud of it and wanted to showcase it."
The Third Annual Hispanic-American Festival will take place at Franklin-Covey Field, Aug. 28-29. Events run Friday from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. and Saturday from noon-11 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 are free.
"The fact that a Hispanic festival hadn't been done before was one of the challenges," Farrington said. "But look around - the Asian-Pacific Festival and the Obon Festival have been successful. So we went ahead with it."
This year's festival will feature music, food and a mercado, or market place, where art, handmade crafts and clothing will be sold.
A new event is the screening of Eduardo Milewicz's film, "Life According to Muriel," which depicts the plight of two single mothers in the remote mountains of Argentina. The film will be shown at the Tower Theater on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
One vendor at the festival is Jeronimo Lozano, who specializes in Peruvian folk art, such as retablos, sculpture and paintings.
Retablos are types of Andean folk art where pictorial scenes relating mythical or historical drama are arranged in a single small sculpture, inside a box.
Lozano moved to the United States from Peru in 1994. He was part of an arts group that toured the world. Earlier, his parents and some close friends were killed by a terrorist group called Shining Path. He has since vowed not to return to his homeland any time soon.
However, Salt Lake City has embraced his work. His creations have been displayed all over the valley.
"I wanted to instruct or educate the residents of this valley of the Andes culture," Lozano said through an interpreter. "They reflect the customs of the area." One of his scenes depicts the harvesting of prickly pears.
Lozano not only works with shoe-box-size crafts, he also creates miniature scenes in match boxes and gourdes. "I see myself as a cultural ambassador."
Maria Turner is another Salt Lake resident who will be selling goods at the festival. She does not create her own wares, but like Lozano, she wants to introduce the valley to other cultures.
"The things I sell are from Guatemala," Turner said. "In Guatemala they really appreciate handicrafts. And that's basically what I do here. I try to let people appreciate the time and effort, and the intricacy of the works."
A familiar cultural aspect of Guatemala is the worry dolls. These tiny dolls are woven from cotton strands and are placed under childrens' pillows to rid youngsters of nightmares and other negative thoughts.