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Embrace Hispanic + Latino Iowans at the 2021 Latino Heritage Festival

2021 Iowa's Latino Heritage Festival

September 1, 2021

The faces of Iowans continue to become more colorful.

The 2020 U.S. Census shows us that Iowa’s Hispanic and black communities are growing, according to a report the Census Bureau released last month.

The number of Hispanic and Latino Iowans has grown since 2010. Our community now makes up 6.8% of all Iowans and is about 216,000 strong. This is an increase from 5% or 151,500 Latinos and Hispanics in 2010.

Most of us are young — the median age of a Latino in Iowa is 24 — compared to the median age of 39 for Iowa overall.

Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month will be celebrated nationwide Wednesday, Sept. 15 through Friday, Oct. 15. It celebrates and highlights our culture, traditions and contributions of our ancestries that trace back to the Caribbean Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America and Spain

Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival ReturnsLatino Heritage Festival dancing children

This ever-changing tapestry of cultures woven together is to be celebrated — our cultures have played a key part in building the United States. Locally, one way to celebrate is with the return of Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival this year.

“Living la Fiesta” gives all Iowans a chance to enjoy a combination of art exhibits, food and musical performances during the two-day festival that celebrates the positive influences of Latinos on Iowa and its communities.

We are excited to bring the festival back this year and for all Iowans to experience everything our community has to offer. Latino Resources Inc. is the umbrella organization that oversees the festival, but we couldn’t offer this two-day event to the 15,000 people who attend without the help of close to 40 sponsors.Latino Heritage Festival dancers

This year’s festival is from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26 in Western Gateway, 1330 Grand Ave. in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Free parking is available in the Nationwide ramp at 1100 Walnut St.

Attendees can taste Latino American foods and experience a variety of entertainment from martial arts performers to folkloric dancers and displays about the history of Latin American cultures. There will be musical entertainment both days, as well as cooking demonstrations of Latino meals.

The cost to attend the festival is $5 for adults; children 12 and younger are free.

For more information, visit latinoheritagefestival.org.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Joe Gonzalez

Joe Gonzalez is a retired member of the Des Moines Police Department where he was a 42-year member and a vital liaison in the department's outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community. Gonzalez was a longtime volunteer for Iowa's Latino Heritage Festival before he took over the reins of the festival as the Executive Director of Latino Resources Inc. in 2014.