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10:08 a.m. September 14, 2015
Hola Hola Latina: 2015 Hola Festival

hola festival knoxville
Hispanic heritage display at the annual Hola Festival in Knoxville. Image courtesy of Hola Hola.

One of Knoxville’s biggest annual festivals is set for Saturday, September 26 through Sunday September 27. The annual HoLa Festival which draws around 30,000 people, will celebrate Hispanic culture by featuring Hispanic music, dance, food, and other cultural entertainment. The free festival will take place at Market Square in downtown Knoxville. Parking in the adjacent city parking lots will also be free.

The Hispanic salsa band “Jimmy Bonilla” will be the featured performer at the Saturday evening “kick-off” event along with a performance by vocalist and emcee Edfred Catu. “Salsa Knox” will be a featured dance group Sunday afternoon performing an exhibition of authentic salsa as well as offering salsa lessons. A dance ensemble, “Ballet Folklorico Mexican Tradition of Julio Ruiz,” from North Carolina, will present a program of authentic and very colorful Mexican cultural music and dances.

Knoxville’s own “Sangría Dance by Olga” will present the best in flamenco dance with ethnic influences and Pasión Flamenca dance group will present the rich tradition of Spanish dance, music and culture.

The featured Latin band on Saturday will be the Marcel Portilla Band, led by Marcel Portilla, a highly regarded South American singer and songwriter from Cali, Columbia. His performance at the HoLa Festival will include a fusion of New Latin, tropical, pop, rock blues, and reggae.

New this year - the tradition Festival of Nation Parade featuring the dress and flags of many Hispanic countries, will process down Gay Street Sunday afternoon so that everyone may get a better look at the parade participants. The Festival will include a significant number of food and craft vendors, community tables, and activities for the children. The emphasis on Sunday will be on family education and entertainment so special efforts are being made to expand the children’s area and the cultural displays.

The Hispanic population of Knox County has increased rapidly over the past few years. As of 2013, Hispanics total 3.7% of the total population and estimated to be much greater now. While celebrating Hispanic culture is a prime focus of the event, it provides an opportunity for East Tennesseeans to get a better understanding and appreciation of the culture of local Hispanic people.

Schedule of Activities:

Saturday, September 26 – Festival “Kick-Off”
A variety of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, will be available for purchase and various food vendors will be available.

Performances at the Main stage, Market Square
7:00-7:20 pm- Emcee Chinito Catu
7:20-8:25 pm – performance by Jimmy Bonilla and Orchestra
8:25 pm-8:55 pm – songs by Chinito Catu
9:00 pm-10:00 pm – second set performance by Jimmy Bonilla and Orchestra

Sunday, September 27 – Full Festival for the entire family
11:00am – 6:00pm – all food vendors, craft vendors, and tables open to the public

Beverage stations on Market Square and Union will have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase as well as beer. (No other alcohol will be available.)

The Community Fair at Union and Market will have 14 tables of local organizations and will provide activities for children and for adults.

Sponsor Booths of the HoLa sponsors on Market Square will include representatives from the many organizations and businesses that support the Festival.

Hispanic Heritage tables on Market Square will provide a wealth of information about different countries by displaying crafts and other traditions.

Unless otherwise noted, all performances will be at the Main Stage at Market Square

11:00 - 11:10 am – Emcees Marco Villareal and Chinito Catu
11:10 - 11:35 pm - performance by Caza Teatro
11:40 -12:00 pm - Hazari Science Show
12:05 - 12:25 pm – performance by Pasión Flamenca
12:15 - 12:40 pm– show by SonLight Puppeteers (children’s area)
12:30 - 1:15 pm​ - performance by Ballet Folklórico
1:20 - 1:50 pm – performance by Sangría Dance by Olga
2:00 – 2:25 pm – second show by Sonlight Puppeteers (children’s area)
1:55 - 2:35 pm- Salsa Knox – performance followed by class
2:30 pm– Parade of Nations (assemble on Church Street; step off at 2:30 turning North on Gay
Street then left on Wall ending at the Main Stage for photo)
3:05-4:00 pm - performance by Marcel Portilla band
4:15 – 5:00 pm- second performance by Ballet Folklórico
4:30 – 5:00 pm – Caza Teatro performance (children’s area)
5:05 - 6:00 pm – second set performance by Marcel Portilla band

For further information about the HoLa Festival, visit

Published September 14, 2015

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