Top Ways To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month In Connecticut

September 2, 2013 8:00 AM

(Photo credit: ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the cultures and accomplishments of Hispanic Americans who enriched this country with their histories, traditions and contributions. Generation after generation of Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make America what it is today. From September 15 to October 15, events pay tribute to the Americans whose ancestors came from as far as South and Central America and Spain to as near as the Caribbean and Mexico. The first tribute took place in 1968 and ever since, the celebration has included many Latin American countries that also celebrate important milestones such as earning their independence. Five ways to learn about Hispanic history and Hispanic Heritage Month in Connecticut are listed here for your convenience. Join the fun.

Long Wharf Theatre – Stage II
222 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT
(203) 787-0191

Date: Sept. 19, 2013

Junta is celebrating its 44th anniversary with a huge gala called “Bailemos!” (Let’s dance). Latrina Kelly-James, the deputy director, said that the event includes delicious foods from Latin restaurants including “Mezcal and Soul de Cuba.” There will be plenty of music, live bands and dancing. Also included in the $75 event is a silent auction. According to Kelly-James, Junta is the oldest Latino community-based non-profit organization in New Haven. The event will be held at Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II on Sept. 19.

Riverfront Latin World Rhythms Festival
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
300 Columbus Blvd.
Downtown Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 713-3131

Date: Sept. 7, 2013

A great place to be if you want to fully experience Hispanic Heritage Month is at the Riverfront Latin World Rhythms Festival. This annual event is free and open to the public and this year the event is scheduled for Sept. 7. Here you can find dance instruction for those rhythmic Latin dances. You’ll also find a colorful variety of talented performances on not one, but two stages. Also at this day-long festival, you can enjoy Latino art exhibits, plenty of traditional foods and drinks and lots of fun activities for children. Topping off the whole event is headliner Daniel Salazar, with his unforgettable guitar performance.

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Latino Migration Exhibit
Windham Textile & History Museum
411 Main St.
Willimantic, CT 06226
(860) 456-2178

Dates: Now through Dec. 8, 2013

There’s still plenty of time to head over to the Windham Textile & History Museum where “Latino Migration Exhibit” is on display through Dec. 8. This is no ordinary exhibit. This is one way to learn about Hispanic history through seeing and hearing. That’s because the exhibit includes a multi-media experience including everything from the “cultural, religious, political and economic life of Latinos in Willimantic.” Expect to see everything from paintings to a video that traces and documents the history of Latino migration with a focus on Puerto Ricans and also on Mexicans.

Bridgeport Burroughs & Saden Library
925 Broad St.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 576-7403

Dates: Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, 2013

The Bridgeport Public Libraries will host Hispanic music groups and other cultural events during Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. According to John D. Soltis, the community librarian, the five library branches will host events featuring Hispanic history and its rich cultural heritage. “Books by Hispanic authors will also be displayed and featured,” said Soltis. The five libraries include the main branch, which is the Burroughs & Saden Library, the Black Rock Branch, Newfield Branch, North Branch and the Old Mill Green Branch Library. These libraries are all over the greater Bridgeport area. 

New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema
Yale University & Southern Connecticut State University
Latino Cultural Center
301 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 432-0856 

Dates: Oct. 2 through Oct. 6, 2013

Every fall, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated at Yale with the New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema (NEFIAC). This exciting event presents many films from many different countries including Latin American countries, Brazil, Spain and many more. The films are in many different languages and are organized in various categories. Dr. Carlos Torre, president of education at Yale, said that it is a very well-attended event and audiences are most enthusiastic. According to The New England Ibero American Film Festival (NEFIAC), it is “organized principally for educational purposes.” Its goals are “to enrich and enliven the cultural resources” of the area and “to foster the understanding of Ibero America.”

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Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at

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