There's Always Something Wonderful Here at Saint James Place!

Festival Latino of the Berkshires Celebrates 25 Years

Saint James Place hosts Festival Latino of the Berkshires on Saturday, September 25th from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. The festivities will take please here and at the Great Barrington Town Hall. The festival will celebrate 25 years in the Berkshires! Liliana Ortiz- Bermudez, one of the founders, took a moment to answer a few questions for us.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the event – who started the festival and why?

The Festival Latino began purely as a celebration – to have fun, dance, and enjoy. The founders, German and Doris Orellana, and I, didn’t realize in its inception that the Festival Latino would become an impactful, powerful, and influential educational experience for everyone. We always participated in the Summer Fest of Great Barrington in the late 1980s, and wanted to see some kind of Latino presence in the area, but there was none. In 1995, the town of Lee was calling for community members to celebrate Lee Founder’s Day. They saw the opportunity to create a celebration for Latin-American culture as part of the Lee Founder’s Day celebration, so that’s where they started the summer of 1995. The Festival Latino has continued to build with the participation of the Latin-American community and support of the broader American community both near and far.

Why is this celebration so important now?

It’s important to Learn about the diversity in the United States. The profound diversity within Latin-American cultures is incredibly valuable, especially during our current social, political, and economic contexts where we are so globally interconnected. The most important thing the Festival Latino has offered the Latin-American community is a space to express our joy and the pride we have in our culture, our history, our folklore, our food, our dance, and our traditions. Rather than feel shame, we empower our community to share our culture with pride and make it grow bringing visibility to the powerful nature of multicultural spaces.

What can participants look forward to?

Participants can look forward to a showcase of diverse Latin-American art, music, dance, food, history, and folklore! The Festival Latino is a collaboration between professional performers, local businesses, local social services, artists and artisans near and far, teachers, students, volunteers, and more, all coming together to create, educate, celebrate, and advance Latin-American culture. All are welcome, and we hope to see you there!

This should give you a flavor of this Festival Latino energy.
This video is from 2019 on our Saint James Place in Great Barrington’s Sanctuary stage.

Come and enjoy the Berkshire’s #1 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration honoring the Hispanic/Latino/LatinX diversity within our community. Professional performances will be held in Saint James Place throughout the afternoon, FREE to the public. (Donations accepted throughout the event)

The Festival’s Gala Party is postponed until spring 2022. Want to learn more? Follow them on Facebook; here’s their website.