Fiesta Georgia to be held
at horse park

CONYERS - The tastes and sounds of Latin America are coming to Conyers. The second annual Fiesta Georgia celebration will be held Sept. 20 at the Georgia International Horse Park.

"This is really the kick-off party for Hispanic Heritage Month," said Daniela Guevara with the Lanza Group LLC, which is sponsoring the festival.

"This is a way for the Hispanic culture to celebrate and for other cultures to get to know the Hispanic culture," Guevara said.

Fiesta Georgia will be a daylong celebration of Latino culture, music and food featuring bilingual, continuous and live performances by national and local recording artists, vendor booths offering free product samples, arts and crafts and authentic Latino foods.

Ralph Herrera, president of the Lanza Group, said it has been his goal since he started his company in 2003 to create events that highlight the Hispanic community. He pointed to Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles and Calle Ocho in Miami as two widely popular events in other parts of the U.S.

"There's always been the concept in my mind, and in 2007 we pulled the trigger, so to speak, when we formed Fiesta Atlanta to celebrate Cinco de Mayo," Herrera said. "We have had three successful Fiesta Atlanta events at Centennial Olympic Park."

And then in 2008, Herrera and the Lanza Group decided to hold a Hispanic culture celebration in the fall to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Tuesday to Oct. 15 and commemorates the independence of several Latin American countries.

The first Fiesta Georgia was held in Duluth, and according to Herrera, was such a success with approximately 20,000 in attendance, they needed to find a larger venue.

Festivalgoers this year will have the opportunity to taste authentic Latin American foods and enjoy regional music and entertainment.

"We will have different talents from different parts of the Mexican Republic," Guevara said. "It's just like in the U.S.: New York culture is not same as Southern culture. So, we will have a variety of food and vendors and games."

Headlining the entertainment will be Diana Reyes, along with musical groups Canarios de Michoacan, Banda Tierra Linda, Eclipse Show de Durango and Conjunto Tormenta Nortena.

Also on hand will be El Gringo, who has become a sensation in the music scene. El Gringo is the stage name used by Shawn Kiehne, the first white singer/songwriter in the Mexican norteno and banda genres. According to the artist's publicity information, Kiehne learned to love Mexican culture and music while working with Mexicans on his family's ranch in El Paso, Texas. El Gringo has been featured in The New York Times and People En Espanol magazine.

In addition to music and food, there will be a children's stage with clowns and entertainment, as well as the Monster Energy BMX stunt team.

Fiesta Georgia will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 20. Admission is free.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Fiesta Georgia - Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

· When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 20

· Where: Georgia International Horse Park

· Info: Event is free, parking fee will be required.