El Latino and the Arkansas Times will host the second annual "Latino Food and Music Festival" Saturday, Sept. 13, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Argenta Farmers Market Plaza. The event will feature a variety of Latino foods and music all sharing one commonality: authenticity.
Mariachi Viva Jalisco will play from 6 to 8 p.m. and Calle Soul from 8 to 10 p.m. Founded by Cuban percussionist Fernando Sanchez and Colombian percussionist Fernando Valencia, the Fayetteville-based Calle Soul plays a range of Latin music — salsa, the Afro-Cuban-influenced timba and Latin jazz — and won the 2012 Northwest Arkansas Music Award. The band is a mix of "classically trained artists and some who learned on the streets," according to the band's website — hence the name: "Calle" means "street" in Spanish.
Food vendors will sell mostly home-cooked food all night. They include eight families representing five countries — Karla Contreras from El Salvador, Graciela and Guillermo Bruzatori and Blanca and Jose Luis Bea from Argentina, Luis Campos from Venezuela, Luisa Gaudet from Colombia, and the Mexican taco truck Loncheria Mexicana Alicia, as well as Mexican family-owned restaurants El Jarocho and Lupita's. Budweiser is also a sponsor; there will be beer and sangria available for purchase. An open area below the stage will allow for all the salsa, tango and cha-cha-cha you can muster, and MC Al "Papa Rap" Lopez will make an appearance as well.
Though the festival coincides with the week of Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, gringos made up half of last year's 600-person turnout, Latinos the other half. Organizer Luis Garciarossi expects about 800 people this year.
The event benefits the Argenta Arts District and is presented by Edwards Food Giant. To purchase tickets, $15 in advance, visit.arktimes.com/latinofood. For more information, email event organizer Luis Garciarossi at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Times at 501-375-2985.