Latin Festival a true fiesta

March 30, 2024 BY

Claudia Montecinos and partner at their stall ChilenOzi.

AN AROMA of grilled corn wafted over the gardens of the future at the weekend for the fourth annual Bendigo Latin Festival.

Started by a group of friends who wanted to bring a celebration of Latin culture to the region, the festival has become known for showcasing a range of food, stalls, and entertainment from Spanish speaking cultures.

Mel, Freddie, and Pippa with Brooke and Sienna enjoying the sun at the Latin Festival.

Visitors to the festival could indulge in freshly made churros, empanadas, cane juice, and Tostitos, all while watching live dance and music.

Claudia Montecinos, who was born in Chile and runs the stall ChilenOzi with her partner, said she loved coming to Bendigo for the festival.

“I’ve offered to expose it a bit more, especially in Melbourne,” she said. “I’ve got a lot of friends who have lived here a long time like I have, I also know a lot of international tourists and people who want to about Victoria.”

Ms Montecinos said she supports the festival by encouraging her friends in the Melbourne Latin community to travel to Bendigo to see what’s on offer.

“When they get here, they realise Bendigo is a little bit far from Melbourne, but this is wonderful. It’s got everything; what more do you want,” she said.

One great part of the festival she said, was the opportunity to shop local and support Victorian-based Latin businesses.

“I’ve lived in Melbourne all my life and I realise that with everything Latin, although we make a bit of noise, we’re still a very small community,” she said.

“I like that the local people (Bendigo), they want to know about us, and they support us.”

Ms Montecinos’ stall ChilenOzi was one of the stalls selling products from Latin America.

The festival was live streamed on the day by Pheonix FM and festivities included dance workshops, live music, pinatas, and lots of eating.