(by Sally Warburton)

The Pan American Food and Music Festival 2019 Opening Night and Weekend Events. Toronto August 2019

The opening party for the 7th Annual Pan American Food and Music Festival 2019 on Friday, August 16 was a spectacular event!

Set at the Daniels Spectrum at 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto was a perfect venue. Lots of room for the Food stations, the stage setting and to walk around comfortably to socialize. The MC for the evening was the very animated Ivan Wanis. A perfect match for the event. Ivan Wanis introduced the distinguished guests including Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Adam Vaughan MP and  Daniel Garcia-Herreros Executive Director. Also with an on-screen welcome speech was Prime Minister Trudeau. The guests were supporters, members and friends of the Spanish speaking community representing the Pan American countries.

Music was beautiful, and the performances given by dancers in gorgeous costumes were high energy to get everyone wanting to move to the rhythm. Just amazing!

This year’s country of focus was Cuba. Food stations included roasted pork; not just the meat but the whole pig to decorate the table. Typical South American Ceviche was one of the main dishes. Delicious desserts and fruit and frozen shaved ice cones and cheeses. Opening party tickets at $75 included the food, entertainment and open bar with a selection of wines.

The 7th annual Pan American Food and Music Festival took place in Toronto the weekend of August 17 & 18 at Yonge Dundas Square. The pending rain didn’t stop people from attending, and luckily, the weather turned out to be sunny and hot for most of the weekend. Yonge Dundas Square was such a central place in downtown Toronto and attracted passers-by who were interested in the food and music! As with any significant event, there were lots of friendly volunteers to assist and answer any questions.

Food demos such as Chef Doris Fin whose sustainable food demo with fresh vegetables and sunflower seeds was fascinating and delicious. Step by step instructions for participants to make at home, Chef Doris Fin prepared her very healthy dish. $2 samples were available and eagerly eaten!  Spanish-speaking Culinary Curator, Mary Luz Mejia, Latin American food specialist was there for support! Decorating the demo table was a beautiful ‘rose’ bouquet of zucchini and kale from Fruit Art Havana.  After exploring the event, it was hard to decide which food to buy and sample – all the food trucks and food tents looked so tempting!

Later in the afternoon, there were the Superheroes of Ceviche Competition tickets for $20, and then Sunday was the Empanada Competition with international chefs participating and tickets priced at only $15. All fantastico!  Dance performances had beautiful bright costumes. There were continuously dance workshops, music, singing and dance performances representing so many countries. Families participated in Zumba, Capoeira and Salsa dance lessons designed for all ages!

One of the highlights was the inaugural Pan American Star Contest for amateur singers and performers featuring lots of new talent!

 

Saturday night was the Cuban Xtravaganza Tropicana Show, and Sunday ended with the Brazilian Axe Capoeira Toronto group. The Pan American Market included merchandise, crafts and a wide selection of food from North, South & Central America and the Caribbean. So much to see, to eat and to enjoy in one weekend!

Make sure to look out for next year’s event! We’re all looking forward to that! It was a fantastic cultural event in the centre of Toronto