Saturday's Hispanic Cultural Awareness Festival is an important event for the entire community. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Broadway Fountain. The festival is both fun and educational, and is suitable for the entire family. We encourage your attendance.

The festival started 13 years ago to raise awareness of the Hispanic culture. There are 21 countries that speak Spanish, and about 24 million people in the U.S. who speak Spanish.

As our community continues to diversify, each of us who calls Southern Indiana home needs to better understand all cultures.

That has been the role of La Casa Amiga, the Hispanic Cultural Center in Madison. In addition to helping Hispanic newcomers assimilate, the center also is working to get others to embrace their culture and traditions.

The festival is a wonderful venue to accomplish both goals.

Booths will be set up around the Broadway Fountain celebrating many countries.

Local organizations will be on hand to lend their support and a few will have information on job opportunities.

And, what's a festival without good food? There will be plenty of foods such as tacos, tamales, enchiladas and tortadas.

Throughout the night, Hispanic groups will perform. You will see a mariachi band, dancers and a bilingual puppet show.

In case of rain, the festival will move to Brown Gym on Broadway south of Main Street.

Make a point of visiting the festival. It's fun, and it's important.