Kent State Tuscarawas Hosts Second Annual Latino Festival

Kent State University at Tuscarawas, Latino Cultural Connections and the Committee for the Celebration of Hispanic Heritage will present the second annual Latino Festival on Sat., Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Founders Hall at Kent State Tuscarawas. The festival celebrates the art, games, food and culture of Guatemala and other Latino nations. This family-friendly event is free for all.

The Latino Festival will feature mixed media artist and Guatemalan native Hector Castellanos’ work with Alfombras de aserrin, sawdust carpets traditionally made at Easter time in Guatemala.

The carpets represent a strong tradition among Latino and Hispanic cultures but hold special significance for Guatemalans. Originally created to decorate the streets during religious processions, these artistic expressions continue to be a strong tradition among Mexicans and Central and South Americans. While their origin is religious in nature, Guatemalans have incorporated a lot of the Mayan culture depicting geometric figures and other symbols in the works of art.

This unique exhibit will bring a Guatemalan tradition to life in a way that allows attendees to help complete the sawdust carpets and share in the fun of creating art. The festival provides an opportunity to engage students, faculty and staff, families and the whole community in this unique tradition and in the rich Latino heritage.

Free lunch will be provided by Campesino's beginning at 11 a.m. The festival also features music, demonstrations, art projects, face painting and games for kids of all ages. The Guatemalan Independence Day Celebration and an awards ceremony to honor distinguished students in the area will begin at noon in the Founders Hall auditorium.

The Latino Festival began last year as a collaboration between Kent State Tuscarawas and Latino Cultural Connections to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latino community in Tuscarawas County. Latino Cultural Connections is a local nonprofit advocacy group that offers after-school tutoring, cultural awareness, mentor groups, social outings and community meetings to help individuals reach their full potential as they strive for a higher quality of life.

“We received widespread community support from the schools, churches, tiendas and local organizations,” said Cheri Bronkar, Library Director at Kent State Tuscarawas. “Our intent was to highlight the culture of our Guatemalan neighbors and give everyone a chance to share in the opportunity to learn more about their culture and our shared experience. We were able to put together an event that celebrates the unique diversity we have in Tuscarawas County.”

Castellanos will set up prior to the event, and volunteers are needed to help beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the festival. Anyone wishing to help set up the sawdust carpets should contact Bronkar at or call 330.308.7456.

Kent State Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Drive N.E. in New Philadelphia.


POSTED: Friday, September 21, 2018 - 11:50am
UPDATED: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 10:12am