Latino culture is a vibrant and dynamic one that defies stereotypes and easy categorization, and with the Latino population in the state and country steadily growing, exploring it can be both illuminating and fun.
For the past four years, the Westminster Latino Festival has aimed to do just that — celebrate the traditions and contemporary experiences of the Latino community, not only for its members, but everyone who wants to enjoy it.
“The focus is for first, second, third and the `everybody else’ generation,” explained Manuel Tejada, founder and president of the festival. “The idea behind the festival is its an event of diversity for everybody to enjoy.”
Held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at the RTD Westminster Station, 6995 Grove St., and its surrounding streets, the festival brings a little of something for everyone.
The event begins with a concert by the Denver Municipal Band, playing a special repertoire featuring Latin beats with arrangements of signature pieces from the whole continent. Music is an integral part of the event, and throughout the day there will be folkloric dances from Mexico and other countries, salsa demos, and a variety of live bands featuring salsa, cumbia, R&B and Latin Jazz.
There will be an exhibition of lowriders, courtesy of Longmont-based Suave Car Club, as well as “luchadores” performing their stunts taking photos. New this year is a second stage that will feature karaoke, games and more fun.
“We’re ways trying to make it better, and you can see the growth every year,” Tejada said. “We used to host this at the library, but we had such great acceptance from the community and neighbors, we had move it to a bigger place.”
Tapping into the creative side of the community, the festival is launching “Color Westminster”, an opportunity for local artists to create their art on a series of blank canvas that will be placed at the festival.
Food and drink haven’t been forgotten - a variety of food trucks and vendors will be on hand providing delicious Mexican and South American food, shaved ice, ice cream, churros, and fresh squeezed lemonades. There will also be a beer garden.
“It’s a fun and safe place where you can enjoy music of different genres, artists, good food and dancing,” Tejada said. “It’s a good summer day to have free fun with the whole family.”
For more information call 303-308-9486 or visit www.westminsterlatinofestival.com.
Silver screenings under the stars
As much as possible, summer is meant to be spent outdoors. As such, cultural institutions have figured out ways to take indoor activities and put them under the stars.
The newly opened Alamo Drafthouse Westminster, 8905 Westminster Blvd., is celebrating opening its doors and the season with a slate of free outdoor family movie screenings. Films will be shown every Thursday through Sept. 5 at about 8:30 p.m.
Select films include “The Princess Bride,” “Back to the Future,” Labyrinth” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.”
Tickets are free but attendees must RSVP in advance at the following site www.drafthouse.com/event/summer-movie-nights.
Soundtrack to a cultural revolution
Despite what it was like in high school, nerdiness is now the cultural coin of the entertainment realm. If you spent any time at all at June’s Pop Culture Con in Denver, you know how huge a segment of the population is now a fan of superheroes, fantasy and science fiction.
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra is getting in on the comic fun with a Symphonic Tribute to Comic Con, held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
The repertoire for the performance featuring soloist Marissa Rudd and resident conductor Christopher Dragon includes the Game of Thrones main theme, a medley from the Uncharted 2 video game, and selections from cinematic touchstones like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
For more information and to secure tickets, visit arvadacenter.org/colorado-symphony-comic-con.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Beck and Cage the Elephant at Fiddler’s Green
Being the music nerd that I am, I find the way shows with multiple artists on the bill are structured to be fascinating. It’s rarely about cultural impact and almost always about newness and popularity.
Such is the case at The Night Running Tour, which makes a stop at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. in Greenwood Village, at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23.
The show features alt-rock legend Beck co-headlining with newer alt-pop standard bearers Cage the Elephant. Which is all well and good, but the third (and lower) group on the bill is Texas’ Spoon, a group responsible for some of the best indie rock of this century.
Line-up whining aside, the show should be a great one. For tickets visit www.fiddlersgreenamp.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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