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White Plains Hosts 11th Hispanic Heritage Festival

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Although Cary Brennan, 42, and her daughter Katelyn, 8, attend many of the local heritage festivals, the two White Plains residents have always particularly enjoyed the annual White Plains Hispanic heritage festival.

"I love the stage. We all get to enjoy the different cultures and dances and see clothes from all over," said Cary Brennan. "I'm Ecuadorian and my daughter is Ecuadorian and Irish. I try to get her to learn about her heritage. And, we go to every festival. We just love them. We're international."

Katelyn, who participated in the Hispanic heritage parade two years ago, said she picked out "her Spanish outfit" for the 11th annual Hispanic heritage festival held behind the Eastview Middle School Sunday.

Several attendees donned traditional clothing, and one couple, Nicole Hebel-Gamzon and Joel Gamzon, attached Chilean flags to their backs.

"We just heard about it and decided to come,” said Nicole Hebel-Gamzon, while dancing near the stage. “They should do more stuff like this.”

The few dozen food vendors, clothing stalls, and other shops that surrounded the fields behind Eastview appealed to Joel Gamzon.

"I'm an American, and I came for the food," he said.

Setting up shop at the festival helped local stores like Modas Comidas gain exposure. Adriana Gaviria, who opened up Modas Comidas at 58 Lake Street, said she decided to sell Columbian attire from her women's boutique after hearing other entrepreneurs had good experiences at the festival.

"It really helps to get people to know us," said Gaviria, who has lived in White Plains for nine years. "I'd definitely do it again next year."

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