From Ohio History Central
Performer dancing at the 2005 Festival Latino
The Festival Latino is an annual Hispanic festival that occurs in Columbus, Ohio.
For most of Ohio's history, very few Latinos settled in the state, but beginning in the 1960s, a surge in Hispanic immigration to the United States occurred. Most Latino immigrants came from Central and South American countries rather than from Spain, hoping for more economic opportunity in the United States. Ohio's Hispanic population soared. By 2006, almost 264,000 Ohioans claimed Latino heritage. This number amounted to 2.3% of Ohio's entire population. Between 1960 and 2006, the heaviest concentration of Hispanic Ohioans occurred in central Ohio. Distinct Latino communities formed in Columbus and other major Ohio cities. Most Hispanics found employment as factory or farm laborers, but several Latinos succeeded in opening successful restaurants and specialty stores.
As Ohio's Hispanic population increased during the late twentieth century, numerous institutions and events formed to assist these new arrivals. One such event is Festival Latino. Begun in 1996, this annual festival celebrates Hispanic culture and beliefs. It also serves to educate other Ohioans on Latino issues. Festival Latino includes live music, traditional Latino food, and educational workshops for both children and adults. It usually occurs in late June, and it is the largest Hispanic festival in Ohio.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.