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ATTPAC's new Latinidad Festival is not just music and dance. It's also a public platform

Sabor Puro Cumbia with lead singer Sylvia Garcia
Waffles
/
KERA News
The Dallas band Sabor Puro Cumbia ("Pure Flavor") with lead singer Sylvia Garcia dancing with an audience member in 2021.

As part of Hispanic Heritage month, the AT&T Performing Arts Center is launching the Latinidad Festival Saturday with folk dances and music. But it also includes an open-air market.

In 2018, Anita Sanchez started her company, Hecho Con Amor -- "Made with Love." The 36-year-old Dallasite organizes pop-up markets: Latin American-style mercados with food vendors and individual artisans.

In the past four years, even with the pandemic, Sanchez has put together three to four dozen markets around North Texas. She said these consciously feature Black, brown and indigenous vendors and are kept affordable.

"For the Latinidad 2022 event," Sanchez said, "we have hand-made candles, clothing, boots, Mexican candies, spicy candies. We have a vendor that's doing tacos and they make their tortillas by hand. We've got a vegan Mexican-food vendor."

Meadow Made
Anita Sanchez
Handcrafted soaps and charms made by

The stage in Strauss Square will feature such entertainers as the Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico, and the Dallas band Sabor Puro Cumbia. The performances are free.

Meanwhile, more than 30 vendors will be under tents around the square. The festival starts at 5 pm, so — with the tents located in shady areas — Sanchez feels there won't be much to worry about when it comes to the Dallas heat.

She sees the Latinidad Festival as not just a celebration but a platform.

"The idea is to highlight our Latinx-owned small businesses," she said. "We definitely want that feeling of community."

The idea is also to make the Latinidad Festival an annual event.

Latinidad Festival 2022, Strauss Square at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, free admission, Sept 17 at 5 pm.

UPDATE: This post was updated on Sept. 15 to reflect the fact that Latinidad is not the first festival to hold a market in Strauss Square.

Got a tip? Email Jerome Weeks at jweeks@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @dazeandweex.

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Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.