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Fiestas Patrias, Sept. 17-18

Wellness and community intermingle at Seattle Center Festál:  Seattle Fiestas Patrias. This Latin American celebration is filled with lively music, tantalizing foods and family, Saturday, 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Sept. 17-18, in Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion.

The 38th annual festival at Seattle Center celebrates the independence of Latin American countries with the motto ¡Viva Latinoamérica Unida! (Long Live United Latin America). Latin American cuisine receives special focus this year, with cooking demonstrations on the Armory Mainstage at noon, 12:45 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. A vibrant marketplace features delicious foods from Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador.

Performances of folkloric dances and traditional music from Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Chile highlight a shared passion for rhythm and movement. Arturo Castro, from the National University of Mexico, presents two workshops exploring the history of salsa and Afro-Cuban rhythms in Mexico, 3:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Each session traces the roots and evolution of genres such as salsa, rumba, cha cha, mambo, merengue and guaracha, followed by a dance demonstration and the opportunity to learn basic dance steps. Festival-goers may take a turn on the Fisher Pavilion dance floor to live music by Latin Twist, 8 p.m., Saturday and 5:30 p.m., Sunday.

Artist Emilio Garcia exhibits two series of his work in the Armory Lofts, accompanied by a lecture, 2 p.m., Saturday. “De Reatas y Rebozos” offers 30 images celebrating traditional horsemanship in Mexico. The second series, “El Arte Gráfico del Ballet Folklórico de México,” captures the joy, color and history of one of Mexico’s most important dance companies. The Armory Lofts also house “¡Viva! Latino/a Visions,” an exhibition showcasing the work of emerging and established Pacific Northwest artists of all ages.

As Seattle Center Festál prepares for a milestone in 2017, the 20th anniversary of this illuminating series of ethnic cultural events at Seattle Center, we celebrate the diverse arts, crafts, foods and family activities presented on weekends throughout the year. The 23 Festál events, organized by ethnic/cultural organizations in partnership with Seattle Center, form the bedrock of our free, public offerings, captivating and enlightening festival-goers as they experience the distinct cultures that influence the character and course of our broader community.

Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit or call 206 684-7200. Learn more about Seattle Center Festál:  Seattle Fiestas Patrias at: