GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Hispanic Festival returns to Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids this weekend. For the next three days, you can enjoy the culture with entertainment, food and activities.

“We’re happy. We’re finally here celebrating the 44th Hispanic Festival. It’s taken a whole year of planning,” said Cesar Gonzalez, the festival chair.

The festival will kick off Friday at 5 p.m. with a lineup of musical artists. Throughout the weekend, guests will hear from bands out from California, Texas, Mexico and Chicago. There will be selections from local bands as well.

“After last year, a lot of people asked us to bring bigger entertainers, so we were able to do that this year thanks to all of the sponsors we have,” Gonzalez said.

The festival is the largest fundraising event for the Hispanic Center of West Michigan, a nonprofit organization.

Entry is free though proceeds from the event will support the center and the program it provides, such as family support services, language services, workforce development and youth and education services for the community.

Their goal for the next two years is to secure more funding to expand their outreach and services. 

“It’s really important that the funds go back,” Gonzalez said. “Last year, we raised $90,000 for the center. Believe it or not, it’s tremendous additional support that they don’t get grants for.

There will also be over 40 businesses and organizations on-site, sharing their services and job opportunities.

About 300 kids ages 6 to 14 will participate in a soccer tournament on the streets. It will last from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. It will begin at Noon on Sunday.

“It’s a lot of fun to see kids that small play,” Gonzalez said. “We’re looking forward to having all of these families down here and help celebrate.”

If you would like to learn more about the weekend events, click here.