The Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is throwing its first-ever block party to celebrate the Sarasota community’s vibrant Hispanic and Latino culture, and everyone’s invited! The parish’s Hispanic Heritage Festival will take place 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., Oct. 3, with a lineup of several top Latino musical groups and bands from St. Pete to Sarasota, as well as arts and crafts vendors, fun children’s activities, presentations on Latino folklore and traditional dance performances. The free festival will take place on the lawn in front of Redeemer’s Gillespie Hall, facing the Gulfstream Avenue cul de sac, directly across from the Sarasota bayfront, and stretch along the green space fronting U.S. 41.
Participating entertainers include Voces Libres, a Sarasota-based band that since 1998 has specialized in a wide range of Latino musical styles, including boleros, salsa and merengue. Musician and Colombia native Javier Chacon will also perform, as will Latin Trilogy, singer/songwriter María Carolina Albán, the vocal coaching company McAlban Productions and Sensación Tierra Caliente—all top-notch regional acts with significant followings. All musical groups are donating their performances for free to the festival.
In addition to musicians, a traditional dance troupe from the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences will perform, as will dancers from the local Fred Astaire Dance Studio and the dance group El Dorado. The Church of the Redeemer’s Hispanic music ministry will also participate.
Artists and craftspeople will offer their wares for sale, children will have play and arts activities, and groups will perform traditional dances. Some of the area’s best-known Latin restaurants will be on hand selling food, and Redeemer’s Hispanic Mission will provide $5 plates of home-cooked food, as well.
Expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees, the festival represents a major milestone in the history of the parish’s Hispanic Mission, founded in 2002. The Hispanic Mission began with just five congregants. Today, the pews for the 1 p.m. Sunday Spanish Mass are regularly filled with 125-plus parishioners hailing from America, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and other Central and South American countries. Redeemer’s congregation is the largest Hispanic congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida.
Forty-five businesses and nonprofits have already committed to sponsor the Heritage Festival. Redeemer’s goal is to include 60 sponsors in total, at levels that range from $150 to $500, with all proceeds generated by the event going to support the Hispanic Mission. Those interested in sponsorships should contact Redeemer at 941-955-4263.
Complimentary parking for festival-goers will be available, courtesy of the BMO Harris Bank, in the bank’s parking garage on McAnsh Square between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information about the Hispanic Heritage Festival or to learn more about Redeemer’s Hispanic Mission, visit redeemersarasota.org or call 941-955-4263.