Iowa Central hosts Afro-Latino Festival | News, sports, jobs

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Irma Iscobedo of Des Moines, Center, demonstrates traditional Mexican dance with other members of Nuestra Danza Sin Fronteras Tuesday morning during the Afro-Latino Festival at Iowa Central Community College.

With National Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing, Iowa Central Community College is hosting its second annual Afro-Latino Festival on September 30th in the Career Education Building on the college’s main campus.

The Iowa Central Afro-Latino Festival was launched in 2019 by the Spanish ICCC teacher Andrea Estling.

The festival includes projects by Estling’s students, music from Peruvian pan flutes, Mexican dancers, and a musical group from Des Moines playing a mix of Andean and South American folk music using traditional instruments such as the zampona, quena, and charango.

A native of Bogota, Colombia, Estling is dedicated to introducing Afro-Latin and Hispanic cultures to the Iowa Central community and celebrating their diversity.

“The Hispanic population is growing rapidly, particularly in Storm Lake and Fort Dodge and Eagle Grove.” She said. “And I’ve noticed in the classrooms that more Hispanics are part of Iowa Central, and I wanted to give some of my students their first experiences with Hispanic culture.”

Students in Eastling’s Spanish courses each selected a country from South America to do research and create a poster for the presentation. Other students received money from some Latin countries so that they could research the person depicted on the bills, such as the artist Frida Kahlo on the Mexican 500 peso note or the Nobel Prize winner Alfonso Lopez Michelsen on the Colombian 20,000 peso note.

The festival also includes free Cuban food and churros.

“I wanted to bring something else with me” Estling explains. “I know Fort Dodge has Mexican restaurants, so people are more familiar with Mexican food, so I wanted to bring something different.”

The Smeltzer Trust and the Catherine Vincent Deardorft Foundation support the festival.

“They make this event possible” said Estling.

High school Spanish classes from Fort Dodge Senior High and Greene County High School will also attend the festival.

When you go:

What: Iowa Central Afro-Latino Festival

When: Thursday from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Where: Vocational training building on the main Iowa Central campus

Cost: Free and public

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