CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) – Cairo held its first Hispanic Heritage Festival on Saturday.
The event brought the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month downtown. It started at 11 a.m. with a parade and ended with live music and foods from many Hispanic cultures.
“We have a lot of Hispanics here. You have Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, people from San Salvador, all over. We teach people about our heritage, our food, our culture,” Stanley Torres, a food vendor at the event, said.
Torres is of Puerto Rican descent. He is a part of Cairo’s big Hispanic population. Partnering with his friends from Mexico, Torres served up, flautas, a dish they enjoyed growing up.
“This is the first year we are celebrating it. Hopefully every year we can celebrate it more,” Torres said.
Most were from Cairo, but not everyone. Families and businesses travelled long distances just to take part. Tismely Horton drove from Tallahassee.
“This is actually my first time here and it’s amazing. It gives a nice New Orleans style,” Horton said.
Her business helps Hispanics with translation, tax forms and immigration status.
Miguel Vabia, a cairo resident, said he is proud of his hometown of Cairo for putting on the event and thinks this is big for the city.
“We live in a small town. You will see it now, when Hispanics do some thing it’s something big. We celebrate big,” Vabia said.
Reneegee Theophille, owner of Zanee’s Ballroom., said she thinks this is a sign that bigger things are coming.
“We are doing a lot with concerts, heritage such as Hispanic, MLK. We are expanding and opening up different things here in Grady County. We are close to Valdosta, Thomasville. We want these communities to come here to get that hometown feel, to get the homemade, homegrown, things that we have in Cairo,” Theophille said.
Also at the event was a huge giveaway for people in need.
“This place was completely full of 500 pairs of shoes for the community, resources, book bags, school supplies, and look at it,” Andrea Copeland, owner of The Carousel, said.
There were also haircuts and free flu vaccines.
“This is huge for Cairo we have a huge population of Hispanic people,” Erikka Edwards, the Chorus director at Cairo High School said.
She volunteered to donate supplies to those in need. Theophille held the giveaway at her downtown business.
Edwards said the festival helped her build a bond with everyone, including her students.
“It’s just a way to give back to the community, letting everyone know that we support everyone here in Cairo,” Edwards said.
Businesses in town also got support from people visiting. Based on the success, Theophille said she wants the festival to be an annual event.
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