Cielito Lindo celebrating Latin culture | VailDaily.com

Cielito Lindo celebrating Latin culture

Yosef Reyna, 4, holds a pineapple smoothie while enjoying the great music of Duela during the Cielito Lindo Music & Heritage Festival Friday in Avon.
Justin Q. McCarty | Special to the Daily |

AVON — Under a beautiful sky, the Cielito Lindo Music & Heritage Festival kicked off in Nottingham Park on Friday with authentic Latin American food and music.

Festival attendees enjoyed the sounds of popular bands like Duelo and headliners Conjunto Primavera, winners of the Best Norteno Album category at the 2014 Latin Grammy Awards. Tamales and a wide variety of tacos were readily available; Bonanza BBQ prepared corn the Mexican way with mayonnaise, cheese, chili and lime; and Spicey Mexican Catering made huge pina coladas and served them in actual pineapples.

Jeffrey Cash and his wife Pauline said they came out to expose their son, 2-year-old JP, to some good music and culture, and to celebrate Mexican Independence Day which was earlier this week.

“But mainly, we came because we knew our favorite taco vendor would be here, Tacos Callejeros,” Jeffrey Cash said.

“It’s nice to see the local Latin community and the traditional American community being able to come together at an event like this. I really hope it’s successful.”Pauline CashFestival attendee

“It’s nice to see the local Latin community and the traditional American community being able to come together at an event like this,” Pauline Cash said. “I really hope it’s successful.”

For a venue where popular festivals often take on a similar feel, the scene at Friday’s Cielito Lindo was something truly different.

“I really respect the promoters for bringing something to the community that hasn’t been done before,” said Scotty Stoughton, who has organized several successful festivals in Avon during the past few years. “There aren’t a lot of promoters here and the risk we take on events like these can be really stressful. I think (event founder Carlos Mercado) is going to look back on this one day and be really proud of himself for taking this risk. It’s great to see authentic, world-class music here.”

LOOKING GOOD

One thing Mercado can be immediately proud of is a stylish and well-dressed crowd. Families came out in numbers — men in dress shoes, collared shirts and pleated pants, and women in beautiful blouses and heels.

“To a concert like this you come looking your best,” said Edwardo Velasco, a longtime Eagle County resident who was joined by his wife, Jossie, and their daughters.

“I wish you could just come in a T-shirt,” Jossie Velasco said with a laugh. “It took me two hours to get ready.”

Eight-year-old Camila Velasco and her friend Alassandra Ruiz were enjoying the kid-friendly atmosphere at the event along with Camila’s little sister, 4-year-old Kitzia.

“I’m glad they made it so fun for kids,” Camila said.

A bouncy castle village, set up by local start-up company Guerrerito Bounce House out of Avon, was the main attraction for the younger set.

“We’re just getting started and this is a perfect event for us,” said owner Alonso Ceballos. “The parents really like it, the kids really like it, especially this blow up pirate ship that we have … and I really like being able to see one of my favorite bands, Duelo.”

TODAY: La Original Banda El Limon

Avon Director of Festivals Danita Dempsey said in a community with such socio and cultural diversity, the hope in bringing the Cielito Lindo Music & Heritage Festival is to celebrate that diversity.

“We really want to bridge the gap,” she said. “We want our community’s diversity to be reflected in our special events.”

Event founder and organizer Carlos Mercado said all he was hoping for was good music.

“And these bands tonight did not disappoint,” he said.

Today’s Cielito Lindo lineup includes DJ El Mero Perro at 3 p.m., Ritmos Calientes at 3:30 p.m., Voz A Voz at 4:45 p.m., Manuel Molina-El Rey de los Carnavales at 6:30 p.m. and La Original Banda El Limon at 8 p.m.

Edwardo and Jossie Velasco said the main thing that attracted them to the festival was the fact that La Original Banda El Limon would be there. A revolving cast that has been around since the ’60s, La Original Banda El Limon has gained favor across generations of Latin America for its ability to stay together and continue making classic music.

“I have been listening to them for my entire life,” Edwardo Velasco said on Friday. “I can’t wait to see them on stage tomorrow.”

Festival doors open at 2:30 p.m.