Unidos en la Música: A Latin American Festival in the Heart of Historic St. Augustine

March 14, 2023  18:34  |  M.I.C. News

Interactive cultural exhibits, nearly 100 artisans, historical games, traditional dance performances, dance workshops and food vendors representing more than a dozen countries will come together during St. Augustine’s Unidos en la Música: A Latin American Festival on Saturday, May 6, offering a day packed with the sights, sounds and flavours of the Hispanic culture for the entire family’s enjoyment.

Unidos en la Música: A Latin American Festival in the Heart of Historic St. Augustine

Photo – courtesy of St. Johns Cultural Council ©

Merengue star and Latin Grammy winner Elvis Crespo, who skyrocketed to fame with his hit Suavemente, is the headliner for the festival’s diverse program, which will run from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Francis Field at 25 W. Castillo Drive. Festival goers will also enjoy dance performances by World Salsa Summit champions, salsa and bachata workshops, Brazilian samba and capoeira performances, Mexican folkloric dance, a traditional Peruvian dance, a Venezuelan dance ensemble, and other performances.

“Our festival seeks to unite people of all cultural backgrounds,” said Unidos en la Música founder Erika Quintero. “The city of St. Augustine is the original melting pot of the Americas and where our Hispanic culture first flourished in what is now the United States. We want to tell our stories, past and present so that others can experience our culture firsthand, learn and have fun.”

This year, the festival is adding new, immersive experiences including:

Hall of Heroes: An exhibit of life-size cutout figures of some of Latin America’s heroes, like humanitarian and baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, Literature Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, and beloved Mexican singer Selena.

Somos Humanos (We are Human): Attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one and ask direct questions, speed-dating style, to individuals whose stories are often misinterpreted or have been stigmatized, like members of the LGTBQ+ community, indigenous people, and immigrants. All respectful questions are welcome.

Mesoamerican Ball Game: Before their arrival to the Americas, the Spanish had never seen games played with balls made of rubber, a material native to the New World. All the major Mesoamerican civilizations had variations of ball games. Families can learn how to play this precursor of modern ball sports, in addition to other traditional games such as tejo, futsal, sapo and more.

The festival’s culinary experience includes authentic dishes from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Cuba, El Salvador and more offered by a variety of vendors.

St. Augustine, Florida is the place where Hispanic culture and influence first took root in our nation. The city was founded by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in 1565, more than 40 years before the first English settlement was established in Jamestown, Virginia.

Unidos en la Música: A Latin American Festival was created in 2018 by Erika Quintero and her husband Michael Weitz, founders of Latin Community Service Inc., a nonprofit organization servicing the Hispanic community in Northeast Florida. They offer dance workshops, cultural exhibitions and annual events, using the arts and humanities to educate the region on Latin American culture in order to break through language and cultural barriers. Their intention is to enrich the community and to bring together people from all backgrounds through education. In 2022, the festival brought together more than 8,000 people. Unidos en la Música is hosted in partnership with the St. Johns Cultural Council, a not-for-profit with a mission to showcase the region’s arts, culture and heritage.