Valley hosts Hispanic Heritage & Oktober Fests

Photo courtesy of Eye on Sun Valley.

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.” – Anne Frank

One of the greatest things about our country is that no matter where we come from or what our heritage is, we all share the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This weekend, the Wood River Valley will host two traditional September festivals that not only celebrate our diverse heritage, they also honor some of the different ways we like to pursue happiness.

The 2nd Annual Hailey Hispanic Heritage Latinx Fest will take place this weekend, with most of the entertainment happening on Saturday, from 11am to 9pm at Roberta McKercher Park. Festivities for the multicultural, family-friendly event include live music, dancing, children’s activities and plenty of tasty Mexican, Salvadoran, Peruvian and American food. There will also be a special recognition ceremony honoring local “Hispanic Heroes.”

“You don’t have to be Hispanic to be a hero, you just have to helpful and contributing to the Hispanic community,” event producer, Herbert Romero said, about a group of honorees that includes Rusty Garcia, Bob Knoebel, Teofila Mendoza and Michel Sewell.

Herbert is delighted to see the event grow, both locally and nationally at similar Latinx Fests across the country. The success of Hailey’s first fest last year has caught the attention of all kinds of groups, including the Mexican Consul, which will be at Roberta McKercher Park on Saturday and at the Community Campus on Sunday.

“The growth of the event has been great and it’s exciting to have more people and key groups from across the Valley and the region,” Herbert said, explaining that dignitaries and entertainers are expected from Boise, Burley, Jerome and Twin Falls.

“The more people, the more vibrant it will be. That’s why we invite everyone to come celebrate our similarities and our unique cultures,” Hebert said, adding that this year’s theme is “Diverse Heritage, United Cause.”

“Eins, Zwei, Drei, G’suffa” is not the type of cheer you’d expect to hear at the Hispanic Heritage Fest. But the German toast is certain to echo through Ketchum’s Town Square this weekend during Sawtooth Brewery’s 7th Annual Oktoberfest.

The party kicks-off on Friday night as Mayor Neil Bradshaw, who is originally from South Africa, taps the firkin. In addition to the beer and German-inspired food options, there will be all kinds of games, from stein holding to team competitions for Das Boot!

“The weather is looking good, bring out your lederhosen or German-themed costumes,” Kevin Jones from Sawtooth Brewery said. “It’s a free event, the stein is your ticket!”

With festivals honoring our roots from Latin America to Bavaria, it’s a great weekend to celebrate diversity in the Wood River Valley.

To find out more about the Latinx Fest, contact Herbert Romero at p or 208-309-5902. To find out more about Oktoberfest, go to


By Mike McKenna

This story originally appeared in the Weekly Sun.

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