Upstate organizations celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Hispanic Heritage Month is in full swing across the country.

The annual celebration honors generations of Hispanic Americans who’ve made a positive impact.

The Hispanic American Women’s Association is hosting its annual Hispanic Heritage Month Festival on Saturday.

The event features food from various Hispanic cultures, international exhibits and music.

It will be held at McAlister Square in Greenville from 1 to 5 p.m.

Admission is $1 for anyone over 10.

Money raised at the festival benefits scholarships for students of Hispanic descent.

“It is an opportunity for people to come and enjoy everything about the Latino community,” said Wilfredo Leon, owner and publisher of Latino Newspaper. “They’re going to have a display of different foods from different parts of Latin America, cultural exhibits, they’re going to have music. You don’t have to fly anywhere. It’s right here.”

The Hughes Main Library in Greenville is also hosting various free events to celebrate Hispanic cultures.

Events at the library include an art exhibit featuring woks from local Hispanic artists, bilingual storytime and an artist panel discussion with local Hispanic artists.

For more info, click here.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic-owned businesses in South Carolina made nearly $2 billion dollars in sales in 2007.

That number is only going up.

All across the Upstate, Hispanic entrepreneurs have opened everything from grocery stores and restaurants to architecture and advertising firms.

Lazaro Montoto opened his first restaurant in Greenville seven years ago.

Back then he says there weren’t many Hispanic-owned businesses in the area.

Over the years the community has shown up in droves to eat Tropical Grille’s Cuban food.

Now Montoto is working on opening his fifth and sixth locations.

He credits his success to the support of the community as well as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“They’ve helped us get the word out. Any opportunity they get, they’re telling anybody and everybody about our business and trying to push people this way to come check us out,” Montoto told 7News. “Those guys do a great job representing not just the Hispanic community but everybody in general and letting them know that we’re a part of this community and we’re doing exciting things as well.”