State Fair celebrates Latino heritage

The Nebraska State Fair kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month early with a celebration that is personal to many residents.
Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 7:33 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2023 at 10:25 AM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska State Fair is almost over and for the third consecutive year, the final Sunday has become known for celebrating Hispanic heritage. It was a day full of music and dance.

Dancers came from all over Nebraska came to the fair to show their love for Hispanic culture. They also had a band from Mexico and other local acts performing Sunday night. Committee member Yolanda Chavez-Nuncio said this is the perfect way to kick off Hispanic heritage month, which starts September 15.

“It’s important for people to see it because it shows that we are a part of the community, and it invites people to come in and share and to be a part of the community. Both sides, the major population and the Latino population,” said Chavez-Nuncio.

She wants people to be proud of their roots because there’s a large population of Latinos throughout Nebraska. According to, one-third of Grand Island’s population identify as Hispanic or Latino. The community is full of pride and has a lot to share.

The state fair gives them a chance to distribute their culture with everyone. What’s important is that children also participate in celebrating culture.

“I was just speaking with a group from Lincoln, they’ve been dancing with their kids for 20 something years,” said Chavez-Nuncio. “That’s generations you know, that crosses generations. The group from Omaha has dancers that vary from like five-years-old or younger, up though adults.”

Chavez-Nuncio said the dance groups teach kids a lot about their history, and how to be proud of who they are. She also said there have been Mexican immigrants in Grand Island since the early 1900s. As of lately the celebration has been featured on Main Street.

She said we’re all in this together, we’re all welcomed, and being on Main Street is a clear message.

“I think it’s important for Nebraska and everywhere really to understand your roots and where you come from, and this music is like you know is way past or before our time and so to pass that along to the children and then learn the dances from the states,” said Katherine Lara of Lincoln.

Lara said educating youth about their history is important. She feels the age they start getting involved and learning isn’t a factor. As long as they learn before it’s their turn to pass the torch.