Frisco’s first Latino event builds bridges between cultures |

Frisco’s first Latino event builds bridges between cultures

FRISCO – Mayor Bob had a brainstorm, and Saturday, his idea came to life.

Frisco held its first Festival Latino De Verano Saturday, cordoning off two blocks on Main Street near the town’s Historic Park to make room for music, dance, pinata bashing and food and drink.

Mayor Bob Moscatelli came up with the idea, citing the growth of Summit County’s Latino population and the lack of events celebrating Latino culture.

“There was a huge void,” said Linda Lichtendahl, the town’s community relations director. “Latin culture is something we should all celebrate.”

For a first-year event, the festival was quite a success. Frisco Chamber of Commerce executive administrator Vivienne Johnson said she was very pleased with the turn-out. She hopes to repeat the event in future years, bringing more local Latino vendors and merchants into the booths that lined the street.

The event drew restaurants such as Fiesta Jalisco and organizations such as Dillon’s Family and Intercultural Resource Center. Immanuel Fellowship Church, composed of English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners, also joined the party, distributing Spanish bibles along with El Salvadoran and Mexican tamales. Party-goers could even buy ice cream from paletas de hielo, the small ice cream carts found in most Latin-American city streets.

“It’s awesome,” Oscar Rivas said of the festival. Rivas, a native of El Salvador, has lived in Breckenridge for nine years. Rivas leads Immanuel Fellowship’s Spanish home church, a bible study group for Spanish speakers. The church has had Spanish translators at its services for several years.

“People can come and try some of this great food,” Rivas said. “This is real Latino food.”

For Colombian Manuel Lozano and his family, the festival was a chance to share Latin-American folklore. With his son, Mateo, Lozano played traditional folk songs on a variety of flutes. Lozano believes music is a bridge between Latino culture and the people of his new home.

The Lozanos and other families also set up booths displaying crafts and other cultural artifacts.

“It’s great that Latinos and Americans are living together,” Lozano told the crowd in his best English as he performed. “We can be one through music.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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