'Festival de España' brings Spanish vibes to the city

Thousands of Phoenix residents gathered at Phoenix Center for the Arts this weekend for Festival de España, a small-scale glimpse into the vivid, communal culture of Spain.

“The idea here is to give a little bit of the atmosphere of what you’d actually experience in Spain,” said Goritty Alonso Amigo, a representative for the Phoenix chapter of Asociación Cultural Española de Arizona (The Spanish Cultural Association of Arizona).

The event was busy, long and bustling, but the schedule and space allowed visitors to engage as much as they pleased. As is the case with most cultural festivals, there was no shortage of food, which gave guests a taste of both local and traditional Spanish cuisine.

Phoenix hotspot Paz Cantina was in attendance, offering local street fare and churros. For visitors with a bolder palette, another booth was offering paella, a traditional Valencian dish that has been a staple in Spanish homes for centuries.

Also present were Paletas Betty, a Phoenix favorite and popular presence at local festivals, and various jewelry and art booths.

Two of the most meaningful, profound aspects one should observe when striving to learn about another culture are food and entertainment. Festival de España covered both, providing several live performances and lessons in addition to the food and drink. Guests could also pay to see a screening of Carlos Saura’s documentary “Flamenco, Flamenco” on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s entertainment included a constant stream of live music and dancing, both of which attracted both relaxed observers and tiny dancers who spun freely alongside the performers.

Spanish Flamenco dancers performed in nearly back-to-back shifts on the main stage and the festival ended with “Luz de Día,” a special paid performance that capped off Sunday night’s festivities.

Alonso Amigo and the other hosts of ACEAZ’s booth provided interesting cultural insight and engagement. The organization’s table offered pamphlets that highlighted events, organizations and venues that exist around the nation to recognize, foster and share the Spanish culture.

Vendors and visitors alike seemed very content to socialize and share perspectives with each other, which is apparently exactly what the festival intended to encourage.

“When you go to Spain, it’s very much like this,” said Alonso Amigo. “You walk around, share, it’s very social in Spain.”

Downtown Phoenix was quite possibly the perfect choice of venue for such a festival. The Phoenix art scene is consistently supportive of each other and passionate about supporting any event that will attract new supporters of local creativity.

Almost all festivals of this type seem genuinely invested in the ultimate purpose of building community and sharing the expressions of hardworking, diverse people. Festival de España was no different. It shared the beauty and tradition of an extremely vibrant culture through an assortment of experiences and exhibits that were very accessible and enjoyable for people of all backgrounds.

Reach the reporter at celina.jimenez@asu.edu or follow lina_lauren on Twitter.</p><p>Like <a href="http://facebook.com/thestatepress" target="_blank">The State Press</a> on Facebook and follow <a href="http://twitter.com/statepress" target="_blank">statepress on Twitter.

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