Festival Latino Returns to Genoa Park August 12 and 13

One of Columbus’ favorite festival traditions returns to Downtown’s Genoa Park (next to COSI) this weekend. The 21st annual Festival Latino (photo by Randall L. Schieber) brings a bevy of musical performances along with great art, dance, children’s activities and much more for the entire family. The musical lineup on the Nationwide Fiesta Stage draws from myriad Latin American styles and countries, including great area Latin jazz acts on both afternoons. On Saturday, August 12th at 1:15pm, the Fa2 Trio, featuring keyboardist Phil DeGreg and bassist Roger Hines with bandleader Antoine Fatout on drums, will share their music that ranges “from the infectious rhythms of Brazilian samba and bossa nova to the swinging sounds of jazz.” On Sunday, August 13th at 1pm, see pianist Richard Lopez’s Los Locos Orchestra play fun, swinging Latin grooves with high-energy improvisation, while the long-running Yumbambe follows at 2:30pm with their mix of jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms, including merengue, calypso, bembe, cha cha, samba, and bossa nova. This looks to be another excellent installment of this free event! Keep reading for full details from CAPA.



Honored by an EXPY Award from Experience Columbus in 2016, Festival Latino is now in its 21st year and the largest Latin event in Ohio. This two-day, family-friendly, free celebration of family, community, and Latin American culture returns to Genoa Park in 2017, offering a variety of children’s activities, music, food, and dance on Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13, from 11 am-8 pm each day.


Festival Latino is presented by Honda. Other Festival Latino sponsors include the City of Columbus, Department of Recreation and Parks; Nationwide; Abercrombie & Fitch; LBrands Foundation; Team Fishel; Ohio Small Business Development Center; Abbott Nutrition; AEP; and David and Mo Meuse. Additional support provided by Alexandra Ramos Agency Insurance Services; Barroluco; Bath Fitter; Cricket Wireless; FedEx; Fifth Third Bank; Hilton Columbus; Huntington; Luis Gil Insurance Agency; Mount Carmel Health System; PNC; Rodriguez Bell & DiFranco Law Office, LLC; Sol y Luna Hair Salon; The Ohio State University Department of Spanish and Portuguese; The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center; and Trillium Farms. Additional sponsors include Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Kroger.



Saturday, August 12

11:00am – DJ Cale

DJ Cale caters to Caribbean and Latin American tastes, spinning salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, Latin pop, Latin dance, house, and a touch of American Top 40 music.


1:15pm – Fa2 Trio

From the infectious rhythms of Brazilian samba and bossa nova to the swinging sounds of jazz, the Columbus-based Fa2 Trio brings unparalleled experience and expertise to the stage.


2:45pm – The Ark Band

Columbus-based The Ark Band has toured across the US, Canada, and Jamaica sharing its roots reggae, calypso, and soca music.

4:15 pm – Charlie Cruz

Puerto Rican – Salsa

Named one of Puerto Rico’s best salsa performers, Charlie Cruz’s albums such as Imaginate and Asi Soy, as well as the 2016 single “Se Cae el Mundo” featuring Tito Nieves, showcase his upbeat, catchy flavor that always fills the dance floor.


6:15 pm – Bachata Heightz

Dominican – Bachata

Having just released a brand new single, “La Verdad” featuring Luis Vargas, this New York-based foursome has pioneered an urban-influenced bachata style, fusing the tropical and sentimental sounds of traditional bachata with the rock, hip hop, and R&B of the streets of NYC.


Sunday, August 13

11:00am – DJ Cale

DJ Cale caters to Caribbean and Latin American tastes, spinning salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, Latin pop, Latin dance, house, and a touch of American Top 40 music.


1:00 pm – Los Locos Orchestra

Formed by pianist Richard Lopez, this energetic, seven-piece Latin jazz group performs fun, swinging Latin grooves with high-energy Cubop (Latin and Bebop jazz) improvisation.


2:30 pm – Yumbambé Salsa

Yumbambé Salsa is Latin jazz, bringing together the lush sound of jazz harmony with the vibrant rhythms of Afro-Cuban drumming. Led by Eric “the Fish” Paton, the group performs a diverse collection of rhythms including merengue, calypso, bembe, cha cha, samba, and bossa nova.


4:15 pm – Tito Nieves

Puerto Rican – Salsa

Fresh from his critically acclaimed performance in the Off-Broadway play I Like it Like That, Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated salsa music star Tito Nieves (“El Pavarotti de la Salsa”) has set himself apart by incorporating English into his recordings, earning numerous gold records in a music career that spans more than 30 years.


6:15 pm – Toño Rosario

Dominican – Merengue

Former lead singer of Los Hermanos Rosario, Toño Rosario went on to a successful solo career, earning three Grammy nominations and selling more than 100 million albums with his signature romantic merengue style.


Additional main stage attractions include:


Special Festival Host – B. A-Star

Richard Bastar Jr., known as B. A-Star, is a former member of the group Tercera Generacion (or 3G) with his brothers, boasting the fact that they are the third generation of Bastar in the music industry. Now pursuing a solo project, B. A-Star has created a new urban dance sound, releasing more than ten singles since 2011.




12 pm – 6 pm daily, no charge for activities


Children’s area activities will include:


Balloon Artist – “The Balloon Guy” Steve Mattson will create fun balloon sculptures for children from 2-4pm daily. www.GreatEventz.com


COSI – COSI will bring their exciting live shows and engaging family activities outdoors along Washington Boulevard. Festival-goers will have opportunities to play, explore, and learn about science together with COSI’s Science Spots and thrilling demonstrations.


Mexican Flowers – Big, beautiful flowers are used in Mexico to decorate on days of celebration. Join the members of Organización de Damas Latinas as they help children construct these colorful creations.


Creation Station – The Creation Station is designed to engage the entire family with hands-on activities to encourage families, friends, teams, troops, and the like to work together creatively to rediscover fun without the use of modern day technology. Columbus City Schools and the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy are partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, and the Columbus Museum of Art to introduce attendees to multi-generational arts-and-crafts projects limited only by your imagination.


Mascots – Costumed mascots from a variety of Columbus sports teams and companies will make appearances throughout the two-day event.



Saturday, August 12

2:00 pm – Salsa Lessons with Carlos Rubio

Take a salsa dance lesson from “The Salsa King of Ohio.” Carlos “El Hiperactivo” Rubio is an instructor at the Salsamante Dance Academy and Ohio’s all-time winning-est salsa dancer.


3:00 pm – Salsamante Dance Academy

Enjoy salsa performances from instructors and students of Columbus’ first and only salsa dance studio.


5:00 pm – El Corazon de Mexico

Toledo-based dance company El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico (The Heart of Mexico) will demonstrate the beauty and charm of traditional Mexican dances.


Sunday, August 13

1:00 pm – El Corazon de Mexico


2:00 pm – Salsa Lessons with Carlos Rubio


3:00 pm – Salsamante Dance Academy


4:00 pm – El Corazon de Mexico


5:00 pm – Miss Ohio Latina Fashion Show

Catch a showcase and celebration of modern Latino style as local adults and children model a progression of fashion from traditional Latin clothing through the modern designs of today.



Through the generous support of Alexandra Ramos Agency Insurance Services and Sol y Luna Hair Salon, Ohio-based Latin artists will display and sell their visual artwork in the Artists’ Showcase area. Featured artists in 2017 will include:


Nhora Regina Bermeo – Colombian painter Nohra Bermeo has entered a new stage in her work, representing the sense of women in its simplest form.


Abraham Cordova – Local Chicano artist Abraham Cordova is a CCAD alumni with more than 10 years of fine art, tattoo, and graphic design experience. His newest venture is turning his hand-drawn artwork into screenprinted t-shirts and posters.


Cecilia Roman – Local business owner and painter, Cecilia Roman creates oil paintings focused on abstractions.



Latin writers will display and sell their work in the Authors’ Showcase area. Featured authors in 2017 will include:


Fermina Ponce – Colombian poet Fermina Ponce’s first book of poetry, Al desnudo, debuted at the Bogotá 2016 International Book Fair (Colombia), and went on to be showcased at the University of Guanajuato (Mexico), the Instituto Cervantes (Chicago), and the Festival of Latin Authors (Chicago). Her second book of poetry, Mar de (L)una, was launched at the 2017 International Book Fair (Colombia).


Ani Palacios – Editor-in-chief of Contacto Latino and Pukiyari Editores, Palacios has won several International Latino Book Awards for best novel, including 2010 with Nos vemos en Purgatorio, 2011 with Plumbago Torres y el sueño americano, and 2014 with the inspirational novel, 99 Amaneceres. Her latest books are the novel Noche de Penas (2014), the self-help book No Strings Attached: Your Journey to Unconditional Loving (2015), the thriller El último clóset (2016), and the teen novel Paloma aventurera (2017).


Silvia Carrillo Rodríguez – Born in Mexico, Rodríguez moved to the US with her husband in 1998, and now resides in Columbus. She is author of Un Cubano Más, a fictional account of a young Cuban boy forced to leave behind a life he loves to escape the tyranny of the Cuban government.



The Health & Wellness Area will host a variety of local health and social service organizations offering free health screenings and bilingual information on their services. Participating organizations include:

  • Advanced Recovery Services
  • Central Ohio Diabetes Association
  • Columbus Public Health
  • El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc.
  • Equitas Health
  • Franklin County Office on Aging
  • Maryhaven
  • Mount Carmel Health System
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Center
  • Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center




The Community Resources area will offer information about local education and community programs. Participating organizations include:

  • DACA Time
  • Homes on the Hill
  • League of United Latin-American Citizens Columbus Council 39005
  • Ohio Department of Administrative Services
  • Ohio Hispanic Coalition
  • State of Ohio Office of Workforce Development (Migrant & Seasonal Farmworker Program)




Festival Latino will offer a wide variety of cuisine from Latin America and beyond.



The Festival Latino marketplace will include jewelry, arts, crafts, and a variety of other traditional items from Latin America.


Festival Policy

Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating.


Not permitted in Genoa Park:

  • Unauthorized vehicles on sidewalks or in the parks
  • Commercial activities, including soliciting and/or vending without permission from CAPA
  • Panhandling
  • Camping
  • Cooking grills or open fires
  • Feeding the geese or other wildlife
  • Drones
  • Illegal drug use
  • Illegal weapons
  • Alcohol (except that purchased on site at the event)
  • Glass containers
  • Pets (prohibited for the safety of Festival-goers)
  • Skateboards
  • Large shade structures including tents and umbrellas (both for patio and chair)
  • Staking of any type
  • Coolers
  • Bicycles (to be parked in designated areas)


Rain Policy

Festival Latino is a rain or shine event. There is no rain location.



Paid parking for the public and handicapped is available at COSI (333 W. Broad St.), the Columbus Commons garage (55 E. Rich St.), and nearby surface lots.


Bicycle Parking

Bicycle racks will be located at each Festival entrance.


All acts and scheduled performance times are subject to change without notice.






Saturday & Sunday, August 12 & 13, 11 am – 8 pm daily

Genoa Park (303 W. broad St – riverfront behind COSI)

Celebrate family and community with two days of children’s activities, music, food, and dance from the heart of Latin America. Saturday night headliners will be Charlie Cruz (Salsa) and Bachata Heightz (Bachata). Sunday night headliners will be Tito Nieves (Salsa) and Toño Rosario (Merengue). Admission is FREE. www.FestivalLatino.net


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The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts, the Martha G. Staub and Willis H. Liggett Funds of The Columbus Foundation, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.


About CAPA

Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.

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