Latino Festival in Washington, D.C.: Fiesta DC 2018

Women celebrating at Fiesta DC

Miller Taylor

The Latino Festival in Washington D.C., also known as​ Fiesta DC, is an annual celebration highlighting the Latino culture with a Parade of Nations, a children’s festival, a beauty pageant, a science fair, a diplomatic pavilion for embassies and consulates, arts and crafts stations, and traditional Mexican and South/Central American cuisine.

The massive free festival takes over the nation's capital for one weekend each fall, bringing together dozens of nonprofit organizations and community leaders.

The festival coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) and celebrates the culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Fiesta DC is a two-day event held in the heart of Washington, D.C., with a parade and festival. Enjoy the colorful costumes and a wide range of music and dance including salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, reggaeton, duranguense, and mariachi. Every year, the festival features a different Latino nation, and in 2018 the country of choice is Mexico.

The Parade of Nations and Fiesta DC Festival

Each year, the parade is a lively display of culture featuring traditional costumes and entertainment from a variety of Latino countries. The family-friendly parade is a great way to learn about the varied Latino cultures that come from Central and South America. In 2018, the parade will be held on Saturday, September 15, and the festival will be held on Sunday, September 16.

The parade will start at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street near the National Archives Building and will proceed east to 14th Street in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The event stage for the parade will be located at 10th and Constitution Ave in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The full-day festival includes a wide range of entertainment and great food from a wide variety of Latino cultures, but in 2018 it will feature the traditional dishes of Mexico. The festival grounds are located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 14th Streets beginning at the U.S. Navy Memorial Plaza and extending to Freedom Plaza.

The annual event began as a Latino Festival in the 1970s and was held in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood which was home to a large Latino community. In 2012, the festival was moved to the more visible downtown location of Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues.

Other Cultural Celebrations in Washington, D.C.

Fiesta DC, Inc. is a non-profit organization that sponsors events throughout the year including neighborhood talent shows, Thanksgiving basket contributions, and Christmas toy and coat giveaways to the less fortunate in the Latino community. Proceeds from events and fundraisers like Fiesta D.C. benefit the local efforts of this organization.

Although Latinos are the fastest growing group in the District of Columbia, comprising nearly 10 percent of the city's population, the city boasts (and celebrates) a wide range of international communities. In fact, Washington, D.C. offers some of the best cultural festivals and experiences in the United States.