Our Decades-Old Tradition Returns: Festival Betances 2017
Nearly half a century ago, Latino members of the South End community decided to dedicate one July weekend to celebrating their heritage with music, dancing, food, and activities for all ages; and, over the years, what started as a neighborhood block party has grown into our annual Festival Betances! Each year we’re proud to welcome more than 3,000 attendees – both returning and new – who look forward to familiar and unfamiliar cultural performances and customs, and this year is no different! Though we’re packing all of the fun into just two days – Saturday, July 15th and Sunday, July 16th – our returning audience can expect another carefully curated event with all of their favorites and new attendees can discover a new summer tradition to add to their calendar.
We’ll kick off the festival in less than 2 weeks with an opening ceremony in our historic Plaza Betances and a parade around our very own Villa Victoria. Our staff, residents, and extended community members are proud to march throughout the South End alongside local politicians, sponsors, family, friends, and spectators – each group dancing, smiling, and waving to their own music throughout the mile-long route.
Following the parade, festival goers have their choice of activities for the day. With a number of mouth-watering Latin dishes to choose from – including empanadas, pinchos, alcapurrias, and more – you should be sure to bring an appetite! Families with children can stop by the Kids Zone for inflatables, a visit from a very special guest, and a variety of activities. Let your competitive side out during our annual domino tournament happening all weekend (sign up here). Or cheer on local teens during our Basketball tournament on Saturday. You can also browse our Betances marketplace for handmade artisanal crafts and merchandise.
And whether you’re a seasoned salsa dancer or new to the Latin music scene, our welcoming environment invites you to enjoy a day full of live performances. This year, our lineup includes star musicians, Johnny Rivera and Ray de la Paz. You’ll hear classic hits like “Cuando Parará La Lluvia,” “Por Eso Esta Conmigo,” & “No Renunciar.” You can also see performances from other artists who are making a name for themselves not only in Massachusetts but around the globe, including the world’s #1 Latin Kizomba artist, Vinny Rivera, “La Reina del Timbal,” (the Queen of timbales), Zayra Pola with her all-female band, 3nity, prodigal percussionist and band leader, Eric Germán, famous musician & educator, Jorge Arce, and Venezuelan singer, Alexander Faría. You can find more information on all these artists here.
No matter your age or your interests, there’s something for every member of the family at Festival Betances! Let us know you’re coming on our Facebook Event Page and stay up to date on all of the exciting announcements we’re rolling out. Make sure to download the complete agenda here and start planning your weekend – we’ll see you there!