On Sunday, the Coalition of Latino Leaders, CLILA, will hold its sixth Latino Taste Festival in downtown Dalton. There will be traditional authentic Latino food, music and dances from different regions of Mexico and other places like Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Spain, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The event (www.facebook.com/events /412158956046593/) will be at the corner of Hamilton and Crawford streets under the parking deck next to the Dalton Depot.
Latino food vendors from the local community will start serving at noon and will continue until 6 p.m. Attendees can enjoy traditional music and dances performed by groups from different Latin American countries and regions. CLILA's Children Folk Group will also perform. Performances will include pre-Spaniards music with Aztec dancers along with dances from different periods.
The festival is a result of a true community effort, with moms, grandmas, men and youth cooking and showcasing delicious dishes from their hometowns, and many passionate volunteers.
Dalton is a diverse city, where a vibrant Latino population thrives and contributes in many aspects to the fabric of the city. Most Latinos in Dalton are from Mexico, but there are many other countries represented, such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru, Uruguay and many more. Even though we are all Latinos, we are very diverse from country to country. And even within each country, there are many different regions and traditions.
The Latino Taste Festival will celebrate colorful authentic food, so you can taste savory dishes, or sweet, or tangy, or creamy, or spicy, or mild, but all delicious. We recognize ourselves as living in a beautiful country and city that we love dearly, while at the same time we value our history and roots.
Latin American countries have rich and complex cultures from at least 15 centuries ago, and there is much to learn and share, from the ancient Aztecs, Mayans and Incas to the Mestizos, through different tribes and ethnic groups. The food and the performances are a reflection of those cultures.
Food vendors will offer a wide range of Mexican dishes from the traditional tacos, as well as pozole -- a náhuatl word for hominy, It's a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew -- and the traditional tamales, enchiladas, mole -- typically contains a mixture of chiles, nuts, seeds and unsweetened chocolate, tomatoes, raisins and various spices.
From Venezuela we'll have the traditional arepas, a flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour served with various garnishments.
From Peru we'll have anticuchos, an ancient delicacy that includes grilled meat garnished with potato. Pupusas will be sold at the festival, too, a traditional food from El Salvador, made from finely ground wheat or corn flour.
CLILA was founded 13 years ago. All of us are volunteers who donate our time. CLILA is an honest voice for the local Latino community, not moved by personal or group interests. It promotes Latinos' civic participation and cultural diversity. It improves the quality of life for Latinos, offers opportunities for Latino leadership development, striving to have representation in the community at large. We also fight for equal opportunities. We provide various services: English classes, citizenship classes, we visit legislators to talk about issues that affect us, and we have a very active voter registration/education project, among many other services.
Our sponsors this year: Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, Vazquez & Servi immigration law firm and Windstream. Donations in kind: La Voz newspaper, Corona Inflatables, Dr. Pablo Pérez, DJ Paco, DJ Jesús Reyes.
Also we're thankful to the Downtown Dalton Development Authority for allowing us to use downtown streets to showcase our food and music.