When Leticia Albarran thinks back to the Jackson’s first-ever Hispanic Heritage Festival in Sept. 2022, two words come to mind. “Thrilled and proud. Thrilled because I saw everybody in one place being happy, and proud because my community showed up,” Albarran said.
The lifelong Jackson resident was inspired to organize the festival after attending a similar event in Chicago. “I wanted to replicate that feeling of belonging and bring it home,” Albarran said. She collaborated with Jacob Inosencio and other community leaders to put on 2022’s landmark event.
Organizers are building on last year’s success to hold the 2023 festival on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 12 to 9:30 p.m. in Horace Blackman Park. This year’s Hispanic Heritage Festival will feature a variety of food traditions, product vendors, local resources, music, dancing and fun for all ages. “It’s all about creating a space for community, belonging and an opportunity for people to be their authentic selves,” Albarran said.
The event also brings awareness to Jackson’s Hispanic and Latinx population. “It shows that there’s a growing need for organizations and businesses to serve this community,” Albarran said. Organizers say the festival helps break down barriers. “At last year’s event, there were people who told me it was their first time visiting Downtown Jackson. It makes me think about how we can do more events to make people feel welcome,” Albarran said.
The festival’s momentum has inspired the creation of a non-profit named Nuestra Comunidad. Meaning “our community” in Spanish, the organization will help support the Hispanic and Latinx community in Jackson all year.
More 2023 festival details will be posted on the event’s Facebook page, which can be found under Jackson Hispanic Heritage Festival. Albarran says the event is an opportunity for residents to celebrate their heritage while also looking toward the future. “I’m excited to see the support of the businesses, organizations and the people that come out,” Albarran said.
Check out a photo collection from last year's festival on the JTV website.