KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One of the biggest celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month in East Tennessee is the annual HoLa Festival. This year’s celebration was held the last weekend of September at World’s Fair Park.
“Our motto this year is ‘many voices, many colors, one heart.’ We’re really one people with a lot of differences, but with a lot in common at the same time,” said Pedro Tomás, the President of HoLa Hora Latina.
What better way to celebrate that than with one of the festival’s premier events: the Parade of Nations.
“I think it’s just beautiful. It’s so great to see all these different people and colors and costumes and flags represented by people who actually live here in East Tennessee,” said attendee Harriet Bowden.
It’s a fan-favorite at an event that is ringing in more than two decades in Knoxville.
“I think it’s awesome, learning about all the different countries and trying all the food. It’s been a lot of fun,” said another attendee, Dave Rose.
That’s really what the Hola Festival is all about: a chance to learn, to explore and to share.
“Imagine coming so far away to establish a new life in this great country, and then being able to have this opportunity to cook for people, to present information from their countries to the people, to express themselves and go, ‘yes, I belong, and I can also express myself and share what my life is in the community,'” said Tomás.
According to the HoLa Festival’s website, organizers depend on sponsors and local, state and federal government agencies. They say they appreciate the support and attendance.