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Havana Fest to return to State College in August

Havana Fest in 2019.
Tony Ghaffari
Provided image of Havana Fest in 2019.

Tony Ghaffari is the organizer of Havana Fest. He said it’s a block party styled after Miami’s Carnival, featuring food, drinks, music and dancers, all of which he says will permeate the air at the event.

“Typically anything Latin or Hispanic has sights and sounds and smells and tastes and it overwhelms the senses," Ghaffari said. "And that’s kind of what I was hoping to do.”

Submitted photo of live music played at the 2019 Havana Fest.
Tony Ghaffari
Submitted photo of live music played at the 2019 Havana Fest.

Ghaffari is the owner of Your Cigar Den downtown. He said he’s seen some increase in Latin influence since he came to State College 22 years ago.

"You didn't hear anybody speaking Spanish and the only Latin food we had was Taco Bell," Ghaffari said. "And over the years I've seen it increase, and I almost consider this my way of creating a gateway party."

Ghaffari said the MLK Plaza Committe, The Downtown Improvement District and the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau are also supporting the event. He hopes to continue the event annually.

This year, Havana Fest will be on August 27, just prior to Hispanic Heritage Month.

Logan Groeneveld-Meijer is a radio news intern for WPSU. He is a sophomore at Penn State University majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish.