The Latino community in the Washington area is rich and diverse, and summer festivals are a great opportunity to celebrate its varied customs and traditions. Even though summer is winding down, there’s plenty of revelry to be had — including the bursting energy of the Fiesta D.C. parade down Constitution Avenue and the local charm of the Prince George’s County Hispanic Festival, both of which fall during Hispanic Heritage Month. Mark your calendar with these four gatherings:
This four-day dance bonanza, touted as the world’s largest bachata festival, is packed with workshops, panel discussions, concerts and performances by some of the best Latin dancers in the world. Although the focus is on bachata dance, which originated in the Dominican Republic, the event also will showcase salsa, zouk and samba. Most of the daytime events are targeted toward professional dancers, but the nights will be filled with fashion, mixers and performances by Dominican singer Kewin Cosmos and Eddie Torres and His Mambo Kings Orchestra, among others, for anyone eager to get up and move. Thursday-Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW. dcbachata.com. $30-$299.
Salvadorans make up the largest Latino population in the Washington area, and this annual cultural celebration usually coincides with the country’s independence day. This year, an impressive musical roster includes mostly Salvadoran talent, with performances by singer Marito Rivera, comedian La Tenchis and the band Los Hermanos Flores. Other Latin American artists scheduled to perform include Puerto Rican reggaeton pioneers Plan B and Dominican crooner Hector Acosta. Between sets, you can fill up on Salvadoran treats served by local restaurants and home cooks. Sept. 9 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 500 Perry Pkwy., Gaithersburg. festivalsalvadoreno.com. $30-$100 .
Forty-seven years ago, this street festival began as a small community event in Mount Pleasant. These days, an estimated 200,000 people attend each year. The excitement kicks off with the multinational Desfile de las Naciones, one of the area’s most colorful parades, with dozens of traditional dance groups, floats and the Miss Fiesta D.C. pageant winner marching down Constitution Avenue. The next day, Latino street food vendors set up on Pennsylvania Avenue, offering dishes such as pupusas and arroz con gandules, while a diverse lineup of musicians pumps music into the party from four stages. Parade: Sept. 15 on Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 14th streets NW. Festival: Sept. 16 on Pennsylvania Avenue between Third and Seventh streets NW. fiestadc.org/festival . Free admission.
This family-friendly gathering organized by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has been a tradition for many area Latinos for nearly 40 years. Carnival games and craft stations provide activities for kids, while the main stage features such local musicians as La Furia band. Radio personalities from El Zol 107.9, one of the event sponsors, will keep the crowd entertained while Nancia’s Antojitos, El Boqueron Restaurant II and other local restaurants provide all kinds of snacks and small plates. Sept. 16 at Lane Manor Park, 7601 W. Park Dr., Adelphi, Md. pgparks.com/757/Hispanic-Festival. Free admission.