Enjoy Music, Authentic Eats At 2nd Annual Naperville Hispanic Festival

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NAPERVILLE, IL — Downtown Naperville will come to life with the sounds of Latin music, the smells of traditional cuisine, vibrant art projects and more for the 2nd annual Hispanic Heritage Festival. The event is slated for Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Centrdal Park, with additional activities planned throughout the city.

Hosted by the Sister Cities Commission, the festival was founded in 2021, when it welcomed some 800 people to its inaugural event, Patty Gustin, city council member and Sister Cities Commission liaison told Patch.

Live Entertainment

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“[Last year’s festival] really was so positive and it really did give the commission and the foundation support in doing it this year,” Gustin said.

One big attraction of the city’s inaugural Hispanic Heritage Festival was the live music. Gustin told Patch attendees both young and old “got up in the grass and in front of the bandshell and shared in the music [and] dancing and just enjoyed it so much.”

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Last year’s lineup featured two Hispanic-themed performances, in addition to performances by the Naperville Municipal Band and Young Naperville Singers. The 2022 festival will exclusively spotlight Hispanic entertainers, Gustin said.

She explained, “That’s in an effort to share the culture more specifically.”

Below is a lineup of the live performances at Naperville Hispanic Heritage Festival 2022:

5:45 p.m.: Martin Metzger Flamenco Ensemble

7 p.m.: Los Perros Cubanos

8:15 p.m.: Jose Valdes and the Mambo All Stars

The event will be emceed by Rena Tamayo-Calabrese, president and CEO of Naper Settlement. “She has been involved, engaged, a leader in Naperville for years,” Gustin said.

Tamayo-Calabrese will also present awards to three Hispanic community members who will be recognized for their contributions to Naperville, Gustin told Patch. Mayor Steve Chirico and other city council and commission members will be on hand during the event.

Last year, Tamayo-Calabrese received the festivals Latinxcellence Award. This year, as emcee, she will present the award to residents who have made a difference in community engagement, commerce and education.

“[They] truly are a representation of the many ways that our Latin community contributes to the life, to the education and to the business world in our local community,” Tamayo-Calabrese told Patch of the recipients.

Food and Drinks

Festival goers can recharge with authentic Hispanic cuisine from the following vendors who will be serving up tacos, churros, elotes and more for purchase:

  • Cupido Bakery
  • Dark Horse
  • FlanBoyan
  • Olga’s Agua Fresca
  • Taco Dale
  • The Swine Cellar
  • Tickle My Tamale

Belgio’s Catering will be selling drinks for guests 21 an older.

Restaurants throughout Naperville will be offering food specials and new menu items before and during the Hispanic Heritage Festival. These include margarita flights at Tapville Social, a carnitas skillet at Egg Harbor Cafe, churro popcorn at Naper Nuts and Sweets, and other special items.

A marketplace will offer artisanal items, including fantastical “alebrijes” animals that are made by hand. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these handmade “alebrijes” will benefit those in need in Oaxaca, Tamayo-Calabrese said.

Other Fun Activities

Central Park will be the hub of the 2nd annual Naperville Hispanic Heritage Festival, but other activities will be offered in and around the downtown area. These include:

  • Sugar skull painting at Pottery Bayou on Sept. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Chalk art by Giovanni Arellano at the Riverwalk
  • Mexican-inspired painting with Pinot’s d at Riverwalk Fine Art Fair (Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Family tetelas oaxaca and huevos rancheros cooking class at Liam Brex from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Scavenger hunt throughout downtown Naperville
  • Bilingual story time at Nichols Library on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.
  • Alebrijes Coloring Time at Anderson’s Bookshop on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.

“It’s a really great way of bringing our local retailers and other folks from outside to bring joy and live a little bit of a community that is theirs,” Tamayo-Calabrese told Patch.

She added, “Naperville is now a very diverse and growingly diverse community and it’s wonderful to see a little bit of where those roots are.”

Click the link to learn more about the 2nd annual Naperville Hispanic Heritage Festival.

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