Expo Latino adding flavour to Prince's Island Park

​Take a trip to Latin America this weekend without even leaving the city. Expo Latino will transform Prince’s Island Park into an epicentre of Latin culture and fun, with international artisans, dancers and performers

El Puma to perform at this weekend's festival

Music and food will be served up at this year's Expo Latino, going this weekend at Prince's Island Park. (Ken Mann)

Take a trip to Latin America this weekend without even leaving the city.

Expo Latino will transform Prince's Island Park into an epicentre of Latin culture and fun, with international artisans, dancers and performers.

"There are over 300 performers from all over the world — Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela ... there's going to be something for everybody who comes," Carmen Galvez, artistic director of Expo Latino told the Calgary Eyeopener.

El Puma

The 20th anniversary of Expo Latino will conclude with a performance by José Luis Rodríguez González, internationally known as "El Puma."

"We're extremely excited to have El Puma perform," said Galvez.

"It's the first time he will perform in Western Canada, there's not a Spanish-speaking person that has not heard of El Puma. He's the Latin Neil Diamond."

The singer and Telenovela actor is scheduled to take the stage on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Dancers perform during the 2015 Expo Latino. The annual event goes again this weekend. (Ken Mann)

Small ... now grande

The expo started as a one-day event at Eau Claire market 20 years ago, consistently growing in size and it has now travelled across to Prince's Island Park, becoming Western Canada's largest celebration of Latin culture.

"At first it was a little scary moving into a space that other large festivals occupy, but we've been there for 10 years now ... we fill it and it provides a great venue," said Galvez.

Festival organizers expect more than 25,000 people to attend the festivities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Colour will be on display at this weekend's Expo Latino, going at Prince's Island Park. (Ken Mann)

A festival for all

"Latin culture is about family ... the whole family can come to Expo Latino ... it's a friendly and family oriented atmosphere," said Galvez. 

"There'll be grandmothers and several generations of kids dancing with each other."

The numerous performers and events scheduled for Expo Latino hint at the need to highlight the individual cultures of nearly two dozen countries.

"It's not just about Mexico or Spanish culture, or salsa ... we'll be showing the diversity of Latin culture, its African roots, and mixture of things," said Galvez.

Admission to Friday night's events will be free with a donation to the food bank. Tickets and information about Expo Latino and be found at the event website.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener