GENEVA — Donning a straw hat, Eddie Rivero came to the first Latino Festival ready to dance.
"I love that tropical music," said the Cuban native who has lived in Geneva for 42 years.
Rivero said that the June 23 festival was "awesome," adding, "I hope it doesn’t stop."
Festival organizer Rafael Díaz said that he received so much positive feedback that he already has plans to expand to a two-day event next year.
Also, he hopes to find a location along Seneca Lake "with more activities … so that next year will be even better with God’s help," Díaz added.
About 2,000 people attended this year’s festival, which took place in the municipal parking lot on Seneca Street and included live music with bands from Rochester and Philadelphia, as well as such children’s activities as a bounce house and arts and crafts from such nonprofit groups as Geneva Reads.
The idea for a festival to unite all Hispanics in the area came to Díaz, who operates El Morro Catering, soon after he moved to the area about 11 years, he said.
"I had a lot of initiative but I never dared attempt (doing this)," he noted.
Fermin "Mimo" Sanchez, who played with Los Pleneros during the festival, said that Díaz is doing a great thing by offering such a festival for the many Latinos who live in the Geneva area.
"You have to start somewhere," said the native of Patillas, Puerto Rico, who lives in Rochester.
Plus, these festivals attract people of all cultures, as does the Puerto Rican Festival in Rochester, added Sanchez.
"Everyone comes … it’s a mix," he said.
Jamie David of Geneva brought her two children, ages 3 and 10, after seeing a festival flier in a local restaurant.
"We don’t really have anything that goes on here," she said. "If you have something like this, I like to take the kids and have fun."