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November 23, 2014

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Parade and festival highlight Hispanic diversity

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Aida Ahmed

Dressed in traditional attire, four ladies dance to Latin music as they make their way down Water Street for the annual Hispanic International Day Parade.

Hispanic International Day Parade

Young girls dance to Bolivian music representing the country in the annual Hispanic International Day Parade. Launch slideshow »

Henderson resident Alicia Estrada stands proud on the sidewalk on Water Street in shirt that reads, “Yo Soy Boricua.”

The phrase means “I am Puerto Rican” and she wore it to represent her heritage at the annual Hispanic International Day Parade and festival in Henderson.

Estrada found her first time at the parade to be pleasant. She came to see her brother participate and brought her daughter and grandchildren.

“This (parade) is nice because its not so crowded,” said Estrada. “I love it, I took the day off just to come out here.”

She is one of the many Latinos in the valley who attended the parade and festival, which aimed to bring people from more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries together to celebrate the Hispanic culture. The event also commemorates National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Groups from UNLV, several high school ROTC programs and the Urban League attended the parade. Guests in traditional cultural attire danced to Hispanic folk songs during the procession.

Maria Maya, a Colombian and president of the Colombian Association of Las Vegas, followed close behind her group during the parade.

In front of her were two young girls acting as silleteros, or traditional flower vendors, carrying a backpack-like box filled with flowers. Following the girls were other members of the organization dressed in Colombian ponchos and shirts featuring the Colombian flag.

One of the larger groups in the parade was the Student Organization of Latinos from the Southeast Career Technical Academy.

Senior Linett Posada said the organization strives to improve the Hispanic community.

“We do a lot of community service for our Hispanic community,” said Posada, who cheered on her fellow El Salvadorians in the parade.

“I liked everything — the cultural diversity, you see every single culture, El Salvador, Venezuela, Belize.” said Posada. “You see all of the different kind of Hispanic communities just getting together and just having a great time.”

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