Cape Fear Latinos Festival

by Sep 18, 2023Festivals, The Blog, Wilmington

September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, and Cape Fear Latinos is embracing the chance to share Hispanic and Latino traditions and culture with the community at its second annual Cape Fear Latinos Festival.

On September 30 local nonprofit organization Cape Fear Latinos invites the community to celebrate, share, and learn about Hispanic culture at its Cape Fear Latinos Festival. The free , family-friendly event, held from 2 to 8 pm, transforms Downtown Wilmington’s Live Oak Bank Pavilion into a vibrant environment full of live performances of traditional Latin music and dances, 47 food and crafts vendors, local nonprofit organizations and children’s games. At 1:30 pm at the Schwartz Center Parking Lot in Downtown Wilmington, a parade of dances and music from different Latin countries will commence the festivities.

Cape Fear Latinos Festival Wilmington NC

Vannia Raya established Cape Fear Latinos in 2021. She founded the nonprofit organization when the lack of resources for the Hispanic community in New Hanover County was brought to her attention and she felt the need to make a change and help her community.  According to, Cape Fear Latinos’ mission statement is to “cultivate the advancement of the Latino community in and around New Hanover County by providing social services and developing programs for the community.”

Cape Fear Latinos Festival shines a light on the Hispanic community in New Hanover County and creates a place to come together to celebrate their roots. Cape Fear Latinos’ Treasurer Marimer McKenzie says this festival holds significance to the Hispanic community.

Cape Fear Latinos Festival Wilmington NC

“We are part of Wilmington and part of New Hanover County,” McKenzie says. “This is a safe place for the whole community to unite, and it shows that we’re all in this together; it doesn’t matter where you come from.”

One of Cape Fear Latinos’ goals with the festival is to raise money to create scholarships to help Latinos pay for the cost of university. McKenzie says that tuition can be expensive for Latinos as some might reside out of state, lack legal status (so are considered out of state) or are simply unable to afford it.  With support from the festival, they hope to make their dream of the first Cape Fear Latinos scholarship become a reality.

McKenzie works for New Hanover County in the Office of Diversity and Equity as an outreach coordinator. When she first encountered Cape Fear Latinos, she felt a calling to get involved. Originally born in Mexico City, Mexico, and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, her passion is helping her fellow Latino community, “especially the ones that don’t have resources so that they can learn, be empowered, have a good life and be connected to the resources.”


Want to go?
Cape Fear Latinos Festival
September 30
Parade: 1:30 pm
Festival: 2 to 8 pm
Live Oak Bank Pavilion, Riverfront Park, 10 Cowan Street, Wilmington
This event is free.

To learn more about Cape Fear Latinos Festival or support Cape Fear Latinos’ mission, click here.

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