DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Hispanic Heritage Festival returns to downtown Dayton this Saturday, hosted by the nonprofit PACO — the Puerto Rican, American, and Caribbean Organization. 

The event is not only a celebration but also the main moneymaker for PACO, with funding going back to supporting charitable efforts in the community.

“We have delicious food. People love seeing the vibrant costumes, the lively music and dancing. It’s all around just a great time,” touts Karla Knox, President of PACO. 

Knox is one of about ten volunteers helping organize the festival.

Showcasing the richness and beauty of the culture, it’s a taste of home for those who are far away. 

“As a Latino going to the event, it’s almost like you step foot back into your homeland,” states Knox.

The festival is also an educational experience, shining a light on Dayton’s growing and diverse Hispanic population.

“I think Dayton has a Hispanic community that’s not always visible. And I think it’s a good opportunity to connect with that and connect with people, with music, with dancing,” states Julio Mateo, the vendor coordinator for festival. “I think the Hispanic Festival serves a role in increasing visibility and connecting the community to these cultures.”

With more than 20 food vendors, arts and crafts, and entertainment, people have a chance to immerse themselves in the fun and the culture. 

The Hispanic Heritage Festival is free and takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at RiverScape. The parade steps off at noon.