A two-week Latin performance festival is scheduled to hit Ormond in September.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Ormond Beach is going to get a two-week shot of culture, and all of the economic spoils that come with it, in September, when the first-annual Festival Latino, an international performance fest, comes to town.
Organized by Oscar Ciccone, a festival and theater director from Argentina, the fall event will mark the first time a Latin performance festival of this size has taken place in Central Florida.
The event is expected to draw more than 5,000 travelers from across the state.
“I am bringing this phenomenal cultural experience to Central Florida not only because of the active and growing Hispanic population throughout the region, but also to expose the non-Latino community to authentic Latino performances,” said Ciccone, who has lived in Ormond Beach the past two years, with his wife, Sara, and two kids, Oscar (7 years old) and Ocean (17 months).
Festival Latino was launched in 2002, in New York City, produced by The New York Shakespeare Festival and Broadway producer Joseph Papp, under the direction of Ciccone and Ceclia Vega.
“My 11-year experience in New York, as head of Festival Latino, has made me understand that the best place to do a theater festival is in a small city like this one,” Ciccone added. “I can't calculate a specific amount of money, but Festival Latino, during the 13-day event of more than 50 theater performances, can generate an important amount of profit in hotel sales, restaurants and local transportation.”
The event will also create short-term jobs for technicians, guides and merchandising personnel.
Planned to be held Sept. 16-29, at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, 399 N. U.S. 1, the festival will feature performers from Argentina, Puerto Rico, Columbia and Cuba, all of whom Ciccone has worked with the past 11 years, since the fest’s inception.
Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center Supervisor Marc Schwartz will manage the event.
“Ormond Beach is also a cultural city,” Ciccone said. “It has the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center ... (and) Marc Schwartz has supported, from the beginning, the idea of Festival Latino and to showcase this exceptional project in his theater.”
Shows at the festival will range from dance performances to theatrical plays, including one featuring Daisy Granados, a Cuban actress who has appeared in more than 35 films since 1964, including ones written by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
“Ormond Beach is the perfect location, 40 miles from cities with large Latino populations,” Ciccone said. “But the objective of Festival Latino is not only to attract Latinos. It is a theater event for everyone interested in approaching the Latinos' culture, and to expand the relationship between the communities.
“When I decided to live in this lovely city, the idea of Festival Latino in Ormond Beach came at the same time. ... The City of Ormond Beach is the best place to welcome Festival Latino as its (new) home.”
Tickets will be available soon, for $20 per performance, at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center.