Olga Galvan, a native of Puerto Rico, loved the diversity of the lineup.
After all, eight different musicians or live performances entertained the hundreds who packed Glen Oaks Park for the third annual East Gateway Hispanic Festival Sunday.
“I’ve gone to the big Hispanic Heritage Festival in Tampa, and I think this one is better," said Galvan, who is a Clearwater resident, while sitting in the shade. “The variety of the music is just wonderful.”
It is the first time the event was held at the park.
It featured food, music and activities designed to promote the East Gateway neighborhood.
“This is one of the priorities that the city has for the East Gateway neighborhood,” said Geri Campos-Lopez, the city's director of economic development. "The goal (of this event) was to get the residents out to come and enjoy a multicultural event and… Create awareness for some of the businesses in the East Gateway.”
The area was a long time crime haven. One recently was the scene of more than 400 calls for service by Clearwater Police in a year.
The city is pouring millions into revitalization efforts for the district. It purchased the 2.2 acre parcel for $1.7 million in December.
The boundaries of the East Gateway area are Missouri and Highland Avenues on the north and south side and Drew and Courts Streets on the east and west.
Activities for kids included a bounce house, fingerprinting and a balloon artist, while people of all ages enjoyed a wide variety of performances, including dance groups, DJs and artists.
One dance group, La Onda, wore colorful, flowing dresses, entertained the crowd.
Food was served by local taqueria and local businesses such as A Touch of Beauty Salon and Azteca 3001 Products set up tents to advertise their wares to festival goers.