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The annual festival, focused on showcasing diversity, was awarded a $1,200 grant.

The Jefferson County Cultural Coalition will provide a boost to the Latino Fest in Madras, an annual event organized by the Latino Community Association, with a first-time grant of $1,200. Latino Fest, now in its third year, celebrates the cultural roots of Central Oregon residents from Latin America with music, dance, food and cultural booths in Sahalee Park each September. Last year, the event attracted approximately 1,750 visitors. Latino Fest fulfills the mission of the Cultural Coalition to "preserve and strengthen cultural expression in Jefferson County … and to promote public access to cultural events," according to a news release. With its focus on awareness, Latino Fest will showcase cultural diversity and enhance the visibility of Latino community members, who comprise 40% of the population in Madras and 20% in all of Jefferson County.

"In a country that was built by immigrants, it is important (now more than ever) to respect others, especially in difficult political times," LCA wrote in its proposal. "This event will bring people together in an effort to maximize the gifts that each individual brings."

Latino Fest is a platform for youth to share their talents in local music and dance groups, as well as the Madras High School Band. The Madras Saturday Market will join the festivities with vendors selling local vegetables, fruits and crafts.

Grants are funded by the Oregon Cultural Trust. LCA will use the funds to bring a mariachi band and cover other expenses of the day-long festival, scheduled for Sept. 12. For more information, visit the Events page at LatinoCommunityAssociation.org


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