Walk away from the margaritas. The Hispanic Festival offers way more than tequila and tamales. This year, the event moves east from Soldiers Memorial to Kiener Plaza, where it will host the Parade of Hispanic Nations, a "Los Niños" kids corner, Hispanic music and dancers including Corazones de Mexicanos Folkloric Dancers. Go! talked to dancer and choreographer Octavio Nieto about Mexican dance.

You came here to dance with St. Louis Ballet, but you are skilled at both Mexican and Spanish dance. How did you learn? I am from Guadalajara. I learned through my family and my grandmother. She researched the roots of what you know as the Mexican hat dance. She not only knew how to do the dances but the history and the traditions behind them. 

Is there a big variety of dances and music in Mexico? Yes. If you go across the border you get the influence of German polkas. In the south you get the marimba. And in Guadalajara you hear the Mariachi style of music. Every region is different. 

The Hispanic Festival boasts the best food. What is your favorite? I get a kick out of good empanadas from Argentina. They're spicy in an Argentinian way with garlic, not in the Mexican way with hot peppers.


When 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday • Where Kiener Plaza, 600 Market Street • How much Free • More info hispanicfestivalstl.com