Saturday's El Tigre Fest will celebrate Tigard Hispanic heritage
Tigard's first-ever separate festival designed to celebrate Hispanic and Latin American heritage is set for this Saturday, Oct. 15, at Dirksen Nature Park.
El Tigre Fest will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the park, the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15.
The family-friendly cultural event will include authentic Latin American food, arts and crafts, dancing, live music and children's activities.
In the past, Tigard has celebrated Hispanic heritage during the Latino Festival, which had a slot at the end of the annual Tigard Street Fair. While the street fair has continued, the Latino Festival hasn't been a part of that event since 2018, according to Leandro Ariel Barrientos, Tigard's bilingual digital communications coordinator, who is coordinating the El Tigre event.
"This is the first time that we've ever done the Latino festival on its own, so it's starting to walk on its own two legs," he said.
The goal of the festival to make it a gathering place for anyone of Hispanic, Latino and American descent. Almost 12% of Tigard's residents are of Hispanic or Latino descent, Barrientos said.
So why call it El Tigre?
From a branding standpoint, Barrientos said he wanted something that would be relatable to both English- and Spanish-speakers. He reached out to several Latino artists and heard back from Alex Villalobos, a Long Beach, California, artist who ended up designing the El Tigre logo.
"The logo that we're using as the identifier is the Pericos de Puebla, which is one of the first Mexican baseball teams," said Barrientos, whose mother is from South America. "The logo is a direct reference and identifiable, and I feel like it's tangible, too. We're getting some of the most positive and interactive feedback that we've had on social media from the Spanish-speaking community since I've been in the city."
The stylized tiger is also a nod to the animal spirit said to help people during Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, Barrientos said.
As of last week, 11 Latin American and Hispanic food vendors had signed up for the event, with a deliberate push to have as many local businesses as possible represented.
"This is like something I'm super-passionate about, because I've always felt like music and food brings people together and breaks down barriers," said Barrientos.
Barrientos said Cooper Mountain Ale Works, the sole beer provider at the festival, is brewing two special edition beers, one of which will be a dark, Mexican-style lager aptly named Eye of the Tigard.
Barrientos, who cut his teeth on digital marketing and communications marketing in the music industry before joining the city, said the goal too was to find as much local musical talent as possible. Entertainment will include performances by La Marcha Sound, Valley Wolf, Louda y Los Bad Homres, Los Narwhals, Gold Code, and Momotombo Soundsystem (a local Tigard DJ).
Two youth dance groups, Flamenco Northwest, Slay Estudio and Baile Folklorico de Colores, will perform as well.
Barrientos said he worked specifically with John Lares of Cielo Talent Agency, who heads a Mexican American talent agency.
"He's got his finger on the pulse as far as younger acts, bands that are not usually represented in the mainstream or in an event like a city event, and that was kind of the impetus for a lot of the curation of the (festival)," said Barrientos.
The city has produced a short documentary, a la Anthony Bourdain, with camera crews from TVCTV, the local government cable provider, visiting a couple of local Latino-owned food businesses. The video will soon drop on YouTube and across Tigard social media sites.
Barrientos said interviewing those businesses was a way to "showcase the Latino businesses within Tigard that make this place awesome."
For more information on El Tigre Fest, visit the city's website at tigard-or.gov.
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