Several hundred people mingled on the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County grounds for the ALPHA Center’s annual Hispanic festival Saturday. Using the theme “Un día de campo entre amigos” -- literally translated as “A field day with friends” and touted as a picnic -- the festival celebrated Hispanic art, music, culture and sponsors who support the Hispanic community.
ALPHA Center Hispanic Services Coordinator Carlos Harris said this is the third year he has overseen the effort for the festival. This is the second year the FAC served as host.
“We’re delighted to make the community a special place to celebrate,” FAC Executive Director Kristin Cobb said.
Harris said the goal of the festival is to bring about what he called “cultural competency.”
“We’re bringing the communities together,” Harris said of the Hispanic and general communities. “That’s why the event is open to everybody.”
The ALPHA Center began offering Hispanic/Latino programs more than a decade ago, primarily providing interpretation and translation services. The center hosted several Hispanic festivals during those early years as well.
Now, according to the ALPHA Center’s website, Hispanic/Latino services have expanded to include substance abuse and mental health counseling, community intervention, education, networking and -- as with Un día de campo entre amigos -- community events.
Sunday’s event included food offered by a local Hispanic restaurant, face painting, games and winning artwork from a drawing contest sponsored by Palmetto Luna Arts.
According to Executive Director Ivan Segura, Palmetto Luna Arts is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to foster Latino arts and culture in South Carolina.
“We’re mostly in Columbia, Greenville and Charleston, but have statewide volunteers,” Segura said, adding that the group likes to attend events in cities like Camden in order to get more people involved.
Handing out a brochure, Segura noted that Palmetto Luna Art’s mission includes expanding the scope of art exhibitions and art education in the state to include Hispanic/Latino artists, promote emerging artists from the Hispanic/Latino community and empower that community through collaborative public art programs.
The picnic started at 2 p.m. Sunday. About an hour or so later, a trio called Forenezi took the stage to offer some live music, getting some folks on their feet to dance. The celebration lasted until 5 p.m., and included drawings for prizes.