Around Town

McLean Community Center throws ‘fiesta’ to celebrate Latin American and Caribbean cultures

Fiesta del Sol will feature live music, food and drinks, and local artisans (courtesy McLean Community Center)

The sun will shine into the night this Saturday (March 25), as the McLean Community Center hosts its first-ever Fiesta del Sol.

The inaugural celebration of Latin American and Caribbean cultures will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. before the doors at 1234 Ingleside Avenue open 15 minutes later.

According to a media advisory, anticipated ribbon-cutting attendees include county officials, MCC staff, and representatives of Latin American and Caribbean embassies, businesses and nonprofits in the area.

MCC partnered with Stafford-based VIP Impressions Event Planning to organize the festival, which will have live music, food, drinks, and local business and artisan vendors until 9 p.m.

“We are looking forward to a super fun evening with a Latin beat,” MCC Special Events Manager Catherine Nesbitt said in a press release. “We will celebrate the cultural wonders of Latin American and Caribbean traditions through live music, dancing, great food and art.”

Admission to the festival is free, but tickets will be sold on-site for food and beverages, including alcohol for those 21 and older. Prices will range from $5 to $15 per item.

The tapas menu comes from Pikoteo, a Latin American eatery that recently opened in the former TAV Mediterranean Bistro spot at 6811 Elm Street.

Proceeds from the festival will go to The Institute for Building Agency, a nonprofit that provides civics education and training to people of color. The woman-led organization was chosen as the beneficiary in honor of Women’s History Month, according to MCC.

Here’s more from the community center on the evening’s scheduled performers:

Following a ribbon cutting and official opening of the event at 4:45 p.m., the festival kicks off with Salsa Guy Richmond, who will offer a demonstration of basic bachata, salsa and merengue dance steps. He will present a demonstration 20 minutes before each band performance. D.C.-based DJ Leo will work his magic to keep the party going. Laura Sosa and the Pa’Gozar Latin band will perform bachata, a form of Dominican music, at 5:30 p.m. Originally from Peru, lead singer, Laura Sosa, has created a band that emulates the rich and varied music of South America and the Caribbean. These talented musicians and excellent vocalists are sure to get patrons on the dance floor.

At 6:30 p.m., Izis, La Enfermera de la Salsa performs. Originally from Puerto Rico, Izis is now a nurse in the United States Army, where she has served for 15 years. The band recently released a new Christmas album, “My Favorite Things,” that features a salsa beat. Pablo Antonio and La Firma rounds out the evening with a performance at 8 p.m. Originally from El Salvador, Pablo Antonio began performing at age 10 in Arlington. His band generates a celebration of merengue that has won fans nationally and internationally.