LatinoFest draws thousands to Promenade Park, with Yvonne and
By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent
2014: MidWest LatinoFest brought a big crowd from five
states to Promenade Park in downtown Toledo on Saturday, August
30 for a variety of food, music, crafts, wares, children
activities, and culture.
Family-oriented activities marked the afternoon start to the
festival, with performances by the Cleveland-based Grupo
Tepehuani Nelli Aztec dance troupe and Sparks
gymnastics team. The Toledo Zoo, Imagination Station, Toledo
Museum of Art, Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center, and
Home Depot set up crafts, displays, games, and activities
for children and their parents alike—including face painting.
21-year old Brenda Aranda won the Selena look-alike
contest and garnered $100. There were six other contestants:
8-year old Heaven Avila, 7-year old Adrianne Chasteen
II, 6-year old Isabel Moore, 9-year old Reyna
Olvera, 11-year old Salome Estrada, and Mary
Guillen. A $500 La Prensa scholarship was also
awarded to Devon González of Terra State Community
Lucas County Auditor Anita López was the recipient of the
4½-foot statute of the Virgin of Guadalupe, donated by El
Aguila Bakery of Fremont, Ohio. ¡Gracias El Aguila!
Father Juan Francisco Molina
of SS Peter and Paul Church blessed the day and the event;
special guests attended were recognized at 5:00PM including:
Lourdes University President David Livingston, Lucas County
Auditor Anita López, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, Lucas
County Sheriff John Tharp, and attorney Jay Feldstein
(candidate for Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Domestic
“Things went very, very well and I thought successful, said
Adrianne Kolasinski, co-chair of MidWest LatinoFest.
“Everything came together nicely. The weather turned out not
that bad as well.”
Mrs. Kolasinski credited the Aztec dance company and the
Selena-related events (especially Yvonne and Grupo Fuego) for a
large, enthusiastic crowd. She stated the festival committee
will look at ticket sales to determine the actual attendance.
But a total crowd estimated at more than 3,500 came to listen to
a diverse variety of music and entertainment, including DJ
Javi of Rico Sounds and his brother Tony Rios
of Voces Latinas TV.
Toledo-based Los Mariachis Locos, led by Jacob Estrada,
opened the night’s musical entertainment. His daughter,
Salome Estrada, was one of the Selena look-alike
traveled from Charlotte, NC, to share its unique blend of
bachata and tropical music.
Radio Free Honduras
from Chicago, often compared to Los Lobos with its
combination of rock and folk tunes with a Latino flare, kept the
crowd dancing well after the sun went down over the Maumee
River. The band features the well-known work of
a guitar virtuoso who has developed quite a following over the
past 25 years, both on the Midwest music scene, as well as in
his native Honduras.
In a word,…Yvonne and Grupo Fuego were fantastic!
and Grupo Fuego of Toledo/Pontiac headlined the festival,
first performing their own set list, followed by a tribute to
Tejano music icon Selena Quintanilla Pérez.
“This festival was so much fun for us. We were playing at the
end of the night and the energy kept building,” Yvonne said.
“It’s like at a Mexican dance. When the sun goes down, I saw the
crowd just get a little bit more on the dance floor. As the
night went on, it just got bigger and bigger and bigger. It put
a bit more pressure on us.”
at the dance floor, it was just crazy seeing that many people
crowded on it,” echoed Mrs. Kolasinski.
admitted she was a bit nervous performing before such a large
crowd, only having done so alongside her icon father—Rubén
Ramos of La Familia—for a few numbers. But this was
different, because she was front-and-center for the entire
concert—and in front of her hometown audience.
“The butterflies get in your stomach and start small, then
build. You can tell we’re getting close to show time,” she said.
Ramos-Ybarra stated Grupo Fuego spent four months of
special preparation for MidWest LatinoFest—learning Selena’s
music, deciding on a set list, and practicing. According to the
group’s manager Eddie Galán of Fostoria, the band even
added an extra guitarist and keyboard player for the show. Mr.
Galán and his son Eddie Jr. of Galán Sound also provided
the lighting and sound for all the bands and musical events.
“We had to bring in reinforcements because her music is so
intricate and we had to amp up our practices,”
Ramos-Ybarra said of Selena’s recordings. “While I’d love to do
more Selena songs, I tend to steer away from her. I don’t want
to become known as that singer who does Selena songs. Because
every gig, so many Selena songs are requested. So we do a couple
here and there to satisfy the crowd.”
But for one night,
stated she was honored to be asked to perform the music icon’s
songs as a special tribute, because it’s something she’s always
wanted to do.
“I got to get it out of my system,” she said with a laugh. “This
time I felt a lot more pressure and I could feel the excitement.
This time it was my voice, all night. That made it different.”
thanked the organizers for asking Grupo Fuego to be part of the
festival. She stated the Facebook and other social media
response since their performance has been phenomenal—and she
believes the band proved they’re just as good as some of the
Texas-based musical acts that have been booked for past
festivals—the audience agreed.
“It really was an honor—a huge honor—not only to be part of the
festival, but to be asked to do the Selena tribute,” she said.
“After we performed, I almost cried—from the energy and the
excitement—there was almost nowhere for all of that emotion to
go. I still feel like I’m on Cloud Nine.”
to all the tremendous musical talent and especially to Yvonne
and Grupo Fuego.
Editor’s Note: MidWest LatinoFest is a collaboration by
sponsors and partners; this year being: presenting sponsor
Lourdes University, Tarta, First Fedral Bank, McDonalds, Corona,
Spanish American Organization, La Prensa, TRE, Inc., Nuestra
Gente, Toledo Free Press, 13abc, SGI Images, WBGU88.1fm, Sofia
Quintero Art & Cultural Center, Imagination Station, Toledo Zoo,
Toledo Museum of Art, The Home Depot, OLA, and Sparks.
2014 MidWest LatinoFest Photos
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09/03/14 20:01:06 -0700.