Dalton and Whitfield County are truly representative of the historical American model of being a melting pot, a coming together of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities.
And while this growing mosaic has its ups and downs as we learn together how best to get along, there are circumstances that bring us together as a community, from mundane activities such as work or school to community events such as sports and parades.
But there is one thing that can bring most everyone in an area together — food.
That one thing is the impetus behind Sunday's Latino Taste Festival, where members of the community's Hispanic population get together under the parking deck downtown next to Burr Performing Arts Park to cook and showcase dishes from Central and South America for the community at large. The deck is at the intersection of Hamilton and Crawford streets.
Local food vendors will start serving at noon and will continue until 6 p.m., accompanied by traditional music and dances performed by groups from different Latin American countries and regions.
This effort, now in its sixth year, is spearheaded by the Coalition of Latino Leaders, or CLILA. This group of volunteers was founded 13 years ago as a nonprofit organization to be a voice for the local Hispanic community.
On Sunday, the group is concentrating on providing the best flavors to be had from traditional, authentic Latino food. There should be familiar fare from Mexico, such as tacos and enchiladas, but also some not as familiar, like pupusas from El Salvador and arepas from Venezuela.
The taste festival offers not only savory dishes from many different regions, but music and dance traditions as well. It is the mixture of these cultural elements, some going back centuries to the Aztecs and Mayans, that make the festival an amazing collection diverse cultures.
And it's being put out there to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.