Latino Utahns have mixed feelings about Hispanic Heritage Month, but still celebrate heritage – St George News

File photo of cultural dancers at the 2018 Juan Festival, St. George, Utah, April 28, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Gene Hayes had no interest in participating in any kind of celebration of Latino heritage for about a decade. Not only did the celebrations seem inauthentic, but they also didn’t seem to represent his identity. It wasn’t until this Hispanic Heritage Month, during a showcase of Hispanic music at the Utah Symphony Orchestra, that Hayes changed his mind. The ‘Celebración Sinfonica’ and other cultural events helped change his view of the month.

A vendor serves tacos at Juan’s Festival, presented by Juan 106 FM, in Vernon Worthen Park. Annual Free Festival returns to the park on Saturday, St. George, Utah, October 23, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Hispanic Heritage Month has been hailed nationally as a celebration of Hispanic culture and contributions and condemned as inauthentic complacency by corporations and politicians. It seems that a range of opinions are present in Utah as well, which should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the diversity within the Latino and Hispanic communities.

Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15 and ends on Saturday. The mid-month start date is tied to the independence celebrations of many counties in Latin America, and the month itself has been observed nationally since 1988. Governor Spencer Cox and some cities in the state have signed proclamations recognizing the month, which was marked by celebrations across the state.

St. George will see such a celebration with food, music and rides at Vernon Warthen Park on Saturday as St. George News’ Canyon Media partner Juan 106 FM presents the annual, free 4 p.m. Juan Festival at 10 p.m.

St. George News reporter Chris Reed contributed to this story.

Read the full story here: KSL News.

Written by SYNDÉE

Copyright St.George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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