Tallahassee celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month


The aroma of fried plantains and arroz con pollo drew thousands to Kleman Plaza Saturday night for the first Tally Fiesta Celebration.

Sept. 15, marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Florida Hispanic Professionals Association and the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, created a night of festivities for Tallahassee residents.

This kick-off event presented a lineup of live music, salsa dancers and a dance floor of excited Tallahassee residents.

Local Bands such as Carlos Y Carlos, Corazón, Sergio Y Los Jalapeños, Keith El Grande and Areyto and several other acts kept attendees on their feet.

A 20-minute intense Zumba session had attendees of all ages sweating to the sounds of Reggaton lead by local instructor, the “Zumba Junkie”.

“This was so fun, I’ve been out of breath since I got here,” said Sonya Garces, a Florida State University political science student from Ft. Lauderdale.

Habana’s Boardwalk, a local restaurant, was one of the many food vendors present on Saturday that were offering the taste of Latin culture. They served roasted pork, white rice with black beans and sweet plantains to attendees wanting to experience Cuban cuisine.

Eric Urra the owner of Habana’s Boardwalk appreciated the event.

“I opened my restaurant four years ago and attracted people of many different cultures with our menu. An event like this is what Tallahassee needed. Hispanics are here, we’re here,” Urra said.

Maria Josè Villavicencio chair of Hispanic Heritage Month and member of the Florida Hispanic Professionals Association saw the need for this event.

“We’re the third largest population in Tallahassee. We wanted to be recognized. Ten years ago there wasn’t this many Hispanics here; we’re growing. An event like this had to be done,” Villavicencio said.

Executive Director of Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, Al Pasini would like to see this event next year in Downtown Tallahassee.

“We’ve gotta do this every year and make sure it’s bigger and bigger every year. We want to highlight the many cultures we have in Tallahassee and this event had a great turnout,” said Pasini

Attendee Malissa Lousieau, from Miami is grateful for an event like this.

“It’s hard coming from Miami where there is so much Latin culture to a city like Tallahassee were there isn’t much of a presence, so an event like this gives the opportunity to network and find out where other people of Hispanic descent mingle,” Loiseau said.