“I was asked
to get involved by a friend of mine and I thought it sounded
like fun to do on a Saturday, so I’m down here just to be in
downtown Toledo on a beautiful day,” said Ms. Waldon. “It
doesn’t get any better than that. I feel like I’m being helpful,
so it’s all good.”
co-organizer Adrianne Kolasinski estimated more than 70
volunteers were involved in the setup, cleanup, and day’s
activities. Most of them sported a bright yellow or white
T-shirt with a festival logo, so patrons could easily find help
when needed. Pastor Chaz Boes of Vida Church on
Broadway pledged about 25 congregation members to help with
cleanup after the festival.
them, this whole thing wouldn’t be possible,” said Ms.
Kolasinski. “Many of the volunteers are friends and family.
Their dedication each year makes the festival possible. We owe
them a lot of gratitude.”
Trump Piñata Contest
One of the
big draws at the festival was the opportunity to play Whack-a
Trump. People lined up to take a swing at a piñata
resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The event was all in good fun, but also served as a chance for
some folks to take a swing and get their frustrations out about
the billionaire’s recent caustic comments about immigration and
how he labeled Latinos while on the campaign trail.
“I want to do
it on a piñata instead of just a live person, just to let him
know we’re not all what he sees us to be,” said 38-year old
Pedro García of Toledo. “We’re just like all the other
cultures. We all got good apples and bad apples. I just want to
let him know that our culture is all beautiful different colors
as you see the dancers that performed today—and wonderful food.”
want candy—and so he doesn’t build a wall,” said 13-year old
Christian Ramírez of Sylvania, an 8th grader at
St. Joseph Catholic elementary school.
“I’d do it to
him if I had a chance. If the guy were in front of me, I’d do it
to him,” said 63-year old Laura García with a laugh, who
emigrated from Chile to Toledo 30 years ago. “He’s the stupidest
person I ever seen.”
agree with anything he’s about to be honest with you, I don’t.
We’re not all killers,” said Christopher Ruiz, 48, of
all rapists and we’re not all drug dealers. It’s ridiculous, his
statements,” echoed Gina Corona-Koepfer of Toledo. “I
think it’s great to pound him over his head here.”
of TV cameras recorded every moment, MidWest LatinoFest
organizers hung three Trump piñatas from a tree. People took
turns swinging a colorfully-decorated baton, cheers arising
anytime someone got in a good shot.
good, felt good—a lot of frustration off,” said Pedro García
with a laugh afterward.
great. I wish he was here in person, though, around all of us,
so we can get him for what he said,” stated Melissa Guerrero
Jackson, 41, who moved to Toledo from Laredo, Texas. “Not
violence, but for him to hear us, how we’re proud and we’re
hard-working and we’re not the violent people or came here for
just an opportunity. We’re here to work hard and gain ourselves
up instead of down.”
good. For a person to be so anti-immigrant, it’s so
double-standard for him. It’s not right. We’re a country-based
on immigrants. Let’s face it,” said Charissa García, a
summer Saturday night also provided just the right backdrop for
some hot entertainment, as members of Los Mariachis Locos
and several other mariachi groups opened the evening’s stage
acts with energy and enthusiasm.
Honduras from Chicago
[Latin rock], Grand Rapids-based
and Toledo’s own Yvonne y Grupo Fuego [Tejano]caught fire
with their sets, providing hundreds of patrons with a reason to
dance on the wooden floor set up on the park’s riverfront lawn.
Grupo Fuego has been nominated for two awards in the upcoming
Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio, scheduled for Oct. 24.
crowd was also entertained by DJs Tony and Javi Rios,
Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe impersonators
from Michigan, and dancing by the pre-Columbian group Grupo
Tepehuani Nelli [Aztec] and post-Columbian group El
Corazón de México [Mexican folkloric].
McDonald’s, The Fair Housing Center, Sighted Guide Ohio,
Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Budweiser, Midwest Tejano
Music Association, Inc., Spanish American Organization, La
Prensa, TRE, Inc. [Tony Rios Enterprises], Nuestra Gente [Linda
Parra], midwesttejanoradio.com [Luis García], 13abc, SGI Images,
Imagination Station, OLA, Toledo Zoo, Sofia Quintero Art &
Cultural Center, and The Home Depot. Sound was provided by
Galán Sound from Fostoria.
Rico de La
Prensa contributed to this report.