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Festival Mexicano puts accent on music

Jul 16 2012

Music, music and more music — that was the highlight of this year’s Festival Mexicano in Centennial Square that wrapped up Sunday, says organizer Miguel Espinosa.

“People feel the music and just go for it,” he said, adding that over the three-day festival, spectators enjoyed folklore and salsa dancing, even joining in at times. “In Canada, they know how to dance salsa.”

The festival launched Friday, free for everyone, is in its sixth year. It’s spearheaded by the Mexican Canadian Community Association of Victoria, of which Espinosa is president.

He said the Mexican community in Victoria has grown substantially in the last five years. Espinosa is originally from Acapulco but he has lived in Canada for 22 years.

“When I want to know something about Mexico now, I ask my Canadian friends,” he said with a laugh. “I am ashamed to say they know more about Mexico than I do.”

Victoria’s Mexican community is tight-knit compared to other cities, he said.

“If you hear Spanish on the street, you introduce yourself,” he said. “It’s easy to meet each other.”

He added that although the festival attracts people with Mexican roots, the community at large appreciates the various events, including live music performances from mariachi band Los Dorados.

“We miss part of Mexico,” he said, “and when people come here, they feel home. But a lot of Canadians love the culture, the food and the music.”

The festival encourages the whole family to participate, incorporating piñata-breaking events for children.

“I do this for the families,” Espinosa said.

The festival drew its biggest crowd on Saturday in fine weather, he said, adding that although a Sunday drizzle put a damper on the events, it didn’t affect the mood.

“The people who are here really enjoy it,” Espinosa said on Sunday. “I don’t get stressed because the show has to continued.”

True to his word, the Festival Mexicano incorporated an impromptu demonstration for making the perfect guacamole.

“I’m happy with what we have,” he said, beaming.

cclancy@timescolonist.com

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