Hamilton’s Latin Festival doubles up on vendors for opening day after rain storm halted event in Oakville

Hamilton’s Latin Festival kicked off a little earlier than planned this Friday, and the three-day celebration of Latin music, food and art will have more vendors than originally planned. 

The festival’s organizers have made room for vendors from the Oakville Latin Festival, which was flooded last weekend during a heavy downpour, and are allowing those vendors to set up for free on Friday. 

The festival runs from Friday to Sunday, with new expanded hours to accommodate the extra vendors. The festival is being held in Gage Park and opened at 11 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. 

Andrea Hernandez was at the Oakville festival with her family business, To Go So Yummy, a Colombian dessert stand that sells obleas — a wafer dessert Hernandez compared to a crepe. 

She said she didn’t know how bad the storm was going to be when the rain started. 

“We say, ‘OK, it’s normal.’ Every festival that we [have gone to] was raining and we just put our stuff inside the tent,” she said. 

But then the rain turned into a heavy downpour along with hail. A strong wind pulled down tents all over the park.

Andrea Hernandez says her tent was one of the few not destroyed by a sudden storm at the Oakville Latin Festival last Saturday, but the rain damaged the products inside her tent. (Submitted by Andrea Hernandez)

She said people taking shelter from the rain held on to the legs of her tent and helped keep it from blowing down, but the wind blew the rain into her tent.

The rain destroyed all of her stock, she said. 

“Everybody was wet. My obleas were melting… The ground was wet too and the water went into my boxes. I lost fruit, I lost toppings, I lost everything that was in my tent,” she said. 

Obleas tent.
Andrea Hernandez will be at Hamilton’s Latin Festival all weekend, trying to make up for the lost profits from last Saturday’s storm in Oakville. (Submitted by Andrea Hernandez)

Hamilton’s Latin festival coordinator, Carmen Guevara, said the rain wiped out the festival and made it unsafe to set back up. 

“Everyone was affected by the storm,” she said.

The storm knocked down vendors’ tents, ruined the sound equipment for the live performances, and flooded the ground, she said. 

For vendors like Hernandez, the festival closing down meant they had no chance to recoup their losses — which is why the organizers of the Hamilton Latin Festival and Oakville Latin Festival teamed up. 

“Everyone who wants to join us [on] Friday, they’re going to have the whole day to put their business [in the park] and then run for free,” she said. 

Hernandez seized the opportunity to set up for free on Friday, and said she will be open in the park for the rest of the weekend. 

“We are expecting a lot of people, a lot of Latino community that want to support us,” she said. 

Leave a Comment