Knoxville's HoLa Festival sees biggest turnout ever

Postponed due to rain, Knoxville's HoLa Festival sees biggest turnout ever

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Held at the corner of Gay Street and Depot Avenue for the last 14 years, they got to move to Market Square. Held at the corner of Gay Street and Depot Avenue for the last 14 years, they got to move to Market Square.
"Let them show their food and their culture and their vibrancy," said Stephen Hicks, who says he never misses an HoLa Festival. "Let them show their food and their culture and their vibrancy," said Stephen Hicks, who says he never misses an HoLa Festival.
"We've got a lot of different cultures here so this is a great way for people to tap into some other cultures that are here and get to know each other," said Tory Kinson of Knoxville. "We've got a lot of different cultures here so this is a great way for people to tap into some other cultures that are here and get to know each other," said Tory Kinson of Knoxville.
"It was very frustrating yesterday because we had worked so hard," said Wanda MacAuley, organizer of the HoLa Festival. "It was very frustrating yesterday because we had worked so hard," said Wanda MacAuley, organizer of the HoLa Festival.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Heavy rains that moved through East Tennessee Saturday forced the cancellation of a number of outdoor events, but organizers of the HoLa Festival are actually thankful for the wet weather.

They believe it resulted in the biggest turnout the annual festival has ever seen.

The organizers were disappointed at first to have to cancel the highly anticipated event.

"It was very frustrating yesterday because we had worked so hard," said Wanda MacAuley, organizer of the HoLa Festival.

MacAuley now says it looks to have worked to their advantage, thanks to a new downtown location for Sunday's rescheduled festival.

Held at the corner of Gay Street and Depot Avenue for the last 14 years, they were able to move to Market Square.

The prime location attracted more people because of better exposure in the heart of downtown.

"We want the Knoxville community to learn about us and celebrate with us our heritage," said MacAuley.

Thousands turned out for the event that's held every year in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrating the Latin culture of residents living in East Tennessee.

"Let them show their food and their culture and their vibrancy," said Stephen Hicks, who says he never misses an HoLa Festival.

HoLa is not only a great way for locals with Latin heritage to get together. It's also a way for the rest of Knoxville to learn about who they are.

"It's nice to be close to my culture since I'm Colombian and show my kids the food and the traditions and the music," said Monica Kinson of Knoxville, visiting the festival with her family.

"We've got a lot of different cultures here so this is a great way for people to tap into some other cultures that are here and get to know each other," said Tory Kinson of Knoxville. "We've got half Colombian, half gringo kids so this is a chance for them to connect with their roots here in Knoxville."

So thanks to the rain, it appears even more people got a little taste of Hispanic heritage.

"I'm very proud of my country and my roots so it's very nice to see other people learn about my culture," said Monica Kinson.

MacAuley says they'd like to hold the HoLa Festival on Market Square every year, but she's not sure if that's a possibility.

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