132 - lorain latino

23 – Lorain Latino Fest – September 20, 2009

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One of Lorain’s best festivals is definitely the Lorain International Festival. A cornucopia of food brought together for a mass of hungry festival goers. It’s almost like a culinary Epcot Center where the World Showcase is squeezed together in 1/1000 the space. If in a group, you and your friends can split up, get various items and share your treasures together.

One of my favorite booths (and they sometimes have two or three at the International) is the Puerto Rican booth. Pastelillos (meat pies, sometimes with bits of potato), rellenos de papas (fried potato balls stuffed with ground meat), pasteles (mashed banana and meat boiled in corn husk), rice and beans, salted pork…some GREAT stuff.

And that was at a festival mixed with tens of other ethnic groups.

So imagine my excitement for a festival with ONLY Puerto Rican and Mexican food! A concentration of cultures to allow various other dishes to come in. Maybe they would have Puerto Rico’s famous Coqui frog things for the kids or carts selling piraguas (pyramid shaped snow cone treats) or Mexican homemade tamales!

As I walked toward the festival in Lorain’s Lakeview Park…

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…the lively music waved along the lake breeze to greet me…

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…and things came into view – differently than I expected.

With the stage fairly in the middle, you first came upon the Mexican table, selling tacos and burritos (2 items), then to a beverage table, some crafts, a photography tent, and then a Puerto Rican table that sold 2 items (pork and rice and meat pies).
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I realized that my expectations were far too high. I bought a good meat pie that would later drip grease down my arm and stain my pants. Perhaps, looking back, they formed into coqui-shaped stains…I should have checked.
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Meat Pie over the pork and rice meal.

I listened to the band play for a short while and they were really good…
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…but I was still hungry and their melodies wouldn’t be able to hold me much longer, no matter how sweetly they sang.
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I attempted to convince my festival companion to accompany me to Vermilion’s Wooly Bear Festival (a festival dedicated to a fuzzy caterpillar’s ability to predict the winter), but she didn’t feel well enough to go.

So I went home and ordered some ribs and collapsed from a tiring weekend, counting coquis as I fell into a deep slumber.

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