It’s that time of year again! The 9th annual Salsafest is this Saturday night, August 19th, from 7pm-midnight under the lights at the Plaza de Las Cruces. No admission fee will be required, and all ages are welcome. For nearly a decade the Salsafest has been a hallmark of Downtown Las Cruces; however, this year the event is a bit different from past years. This week I sat down with Russ Smith to discuss this years SalsaFest.
For the first year SalsaFest is being organized by our very own DLCP events division. Formerly Project Mainstreet, Russ Smith and Janet Beatty-Payne currently make up the DLCP events division. While this is the first year DLCP events has organized SalsaFest, Russ is no stranger to event coordination. As the previous chair of Project Mainstreet Russ organized dozens of Downtown events. The DLCP events division is responsible for the DLCP marquee events like the October Zombie Walk, SalsaFest, and New Year’s Eve Chile-Drop.
Not the same ole’ SalsaFest
So what has changed? This year SalsaFest will be a single night event with an emphasis on Salsa music and dance. Out of El Paso, “Team Havana” will take the stage early in the night, and “Azucar” will close out the night with a blend of Salsa, Rueda, and Bachata music. The stage will also have multiple dance groups performing throughout the night. This years SalsaFest is all about coming out for a great night of dance and fun.
When asked why this years SalsaFest is different from previous incarnations, Russ explained the reasoning behind this decision. “We grabbed onto the things that we can trust, that we can count on…Which is a street party, great music, a beer garden, food trucks, and vendors. It’s pretty reliable. And it’s a world I know through project mainstreet.” Russ went on to explain that turn-out was at its best during the night time festivities of previous SalsaFests. Furthermore, by limiting the event to a single night there are no admission fees. A free event with quality musicians and dancing in the cool evening hours under the lights of the Plaza? That is a pretty great deal.
Engaging the Community
During our conversation Russ also highlighted the importance of Downtown events like SalsaFest. Russ claims that events like SalsaFest allow people to, “step out of their living room and engage with the community socially, economically, and mentally.” He went on to discuss how a habit is formed which leads to more community involvement, and a flourishing Downtown. According to Russ, this habit is, “The habit of being with our friends, our neighbors, of seeing new people from out of town, the habit of going to Plaza de Las Cruces or a centerpiece Main Street activity and knowing that you will be entertained and will have a wonderful pleasant moment and can engage with new brick and mortar stores.”
After discussing this years SalsaFest with Russ; I was left with nothing but excitement for this Saturday night. I believe this year will be yet another successful SalsaFest here in Downtown Las Cruces. We hope to see you there!
For information visit the SalsaFest facebook page.