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Hispanic Festival in Manchester to take visitors on trip of culture, cuisine, traditions

Cilantro and cumin aromas, joyful melodies and bright colors will welcome you as you approach. Enter a world of authentic food, music, folk dancing and games at the Hispanic Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Delicious food – from El Salvador, Mexico and other countries in Latin America – will take you to a wonderful journey. The inaugural Hispanic Festival is set for 12-6 p.m., June 5, at the Coffee County fairgrounds. This is a free event.

Manchester resident Stacy Morales Garcia, organizer of the event, invites you to experience Hispanic traditions through cuisine, songs and dancing. Attendees will have a chance to browse and purchase traditional Mexican clothing, as well.

Garcia decided to arrange the event “to bring a little of our Hispanic traditions” to Manchester. Garcia was born in California. Her parents are from Guerrero, Mexico. When she was 2, her family moved back to Mexico, and she was raised there until the age of 9.

“We came back to the USA and lived in Colorado for seven years,” she said. “In 2007, we moved to Manchester, Tennessee. I graduated from Coffee County Central High School in 2010.”

She is now involved with the Manchester community, participating in several nonprofits serving the community. She is excited to offer this festival to locals and visitors.

“Visitors can expect Hispanic music, folkloric traditional dance, and a taste of Hispanic food,” Garcia said. “Join us and get to know a little bit of our Hispanic traditions. It's interesting learning different traditions and cultures.”

Garcia is looking forward to seeing attendees smile, interact and have fun, reuniting culture and traditions, she said.

“As a Latina, having children that were born and are being raised in America, it is very important to me for them to always remember their roots and not forget their past culture,” she said. “We will be having food from El Salvador and Mexican food – tamales, tacos, quesadillas, smoothies.”

Learn about the past when you chat with vendors. Ask them about their traditions. The history of tamales goes back centuries. Tamales are associated with themes of celebration, unity, family and community. Since pre-Columbian times, tamales have been a vital part of traditions and have played an important role in Mexican diets, according to “Spreading tradition: a history of tamal-making and its representation in Latino children's literature.” The history of tamal-making in the Americas and tamaladas (tamal-making events) reveals the importance of cuisine to family, tradition and cultural ideals.

Order tacos and ask about the history of this delicious hand-held food. Until the 1960s, tacos were almost unknown outside Mexico and the American Southwest, according to “Planet taco: a global history of Mexican food,” by Jeffrey Pilcher. In the last 60 years, the United States has shipped taco shells in countries around the world. Today, this tasty food has become universal. You can enjoy its taste at the Hispanic Festival.

This will be the first Hispanic Festival in Manchester. Garcia said this will become an annual event. The festival will be held at Coffee County fairgrounds, located at 99 Lakeview Dr., Manchester. Learn more about the festival by visiting Comunidad Hispana de Manchester, TN.


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