COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Close to 4,000 people are expected to gather at the Columbus Commons Saturday evening for the annual ¡Viva Festival Latino en Concierto!, featuring live music and food trucks, all offering an international flavor.
Even with the estimated crowd, it’s below what the festival has experienced in past years, but that could be chalked up to COVID-19. The festival is observing social distancing and had to limit the number of free tickets offered for this year’s event.
Organizers and attendees said it was well worth it, to be able to attend the festival in person again.
“I missed it last year because of COVID, so I’m very happy that this year, we’re able to have our festival back,” said Nellieane Figueroa of Puerto Rico.
However, organizers said people come from all over to attend the festival.
“It kind of feels normal again, it feels to be normal again, so yeah, I’m enjoying it a lot,” said Paola Lebrun, from Venezuela.
Despite having to cancel last year’s in-person festival, organizers said this year, they made sure to leave plenty of space for social distancing.
“It’s interesting because, with this festival, it’s not only for Latino culture,” said Rich Corsi, vice president of programming for Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, the organizers of the event. “I mean, we get African Americans, white crowd, Asian, Latino, it’s just like a big family reunion, and it’s like a really nice party.”
Kristie Delpin and Darwin Tapia said they met at the festival several years ago and have been a couple ever since.
“She was basically dancing, and she stepped on my foot,” Tapia said. “Brand new shoes, by the way.”
That’s why being able to attend Saturday’s event in person was such a special moment for them.
“It almost brought me to tears because it’s a special moment, and it’s like, it’s something where we can all come together,” Delpin said.
The live performances from the festival are available to watch by clicking here.
Organizers hope to hold next year’s festival at Genoa Park, where it has been held in past years.