LOGAN, Utah – Wednesday marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, and for the first time, the community of Logan City celebrated Saturday in style.
The bustling central street of historic downtown Logan has been cleaned up for the festival. Instead of cars and customers, there was a celebration of customs and culture.
Caroline Calbimontec, the organizer of the festival, left Bolivia for Cache County nine years ago. His first goal was to learn English.
“So I went to college to learn English, and it was difficult. It’s still hard. I’m still fighting, ”she said.
Yet Calbimonte is not alone.
Ernesto Lopez came to Idaho from Mexico, then moved to Logan, where he was elected the first Hispanic member of Logan’s city council a year ago.
“I’m the first – not just to be Hispanic, but to be an immigrant,” Lopez said.
He says 16 percent of Logan’s community is Hispanic.
“Now, more than ever, I feel like there is a real effort from different agencies, from different parts of government, from Utah State University, to be really more inclusive,” said Lopez.
It’s a much more inclusive environment than when Celina Wille first came to school in Utah in the 1980s – only about two percent of Utah’s population were Hispanic at the time.
“Cache County, we are now close to 11% of the county’s 130,000 residents, so if we look at the trends and numbers going forward, it’s a trend here to stay,” Wille said.
Hispanic food trucks, dancing and a flag parade with 22 different countries represented were part of this first festival.