21 May 2017 :It was a day to remember as bbpark erupted into a fiesta!
Jointly organised by nine of the Latin American and Caribbean Embassies (GRULAC) in Malaysia, Plaza Low Yat, Federal Hotels International and the Latin Ladies Association of Malaysia with the support of Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau, the Latin American Festival – which took place at bbpark for the seventh consecutive year – attracted a massive crowd even before its official opening at 11am on Sunday, 21 May.
A stretch of Jalan Bintang, in front of the entrance to the iconic location and adjacent to both Plaza Low Yat and Federal Hotel, was closed off to accommodate a large stage and several stalls that offered everything from food to fun for both kids and adults.
Within the confines of bbpark itself, the nine participating Latin American countries pitched their booths, each one a window to its respective nation. On the table were delicacies, wares and other treats that are unique to the nine nations, namely Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The wide variety of food and beverage products available were of particular interest. There were wines native to the countries, with a heady range of whites and reds to suit all tastes. These proved to be very popular, judging by how quickly the selections were crossed off the list after being sold out!
Scrumptious, specialty fare found at the booths were a hit among the many visitors too. Among the favourites that folks lined up for happily were Argentinian beef empadanas, Brazilian coxinhas, Colombian patacones con hogao, Cuban coconut pastries, Ecuadorian cheese empanadas, Mexican quesadillas fritas. Peruvian causa rellena, Uruguayan alfajores de maizena and Venezuelan arepa reina pepiada.
Adding to these gastronomical wonders was the ‘carnavale’ atmosphere that claimed bbpark. The place was thick with the colourful sights and sounds normally heard in Latin America. The main stage in particular consistently commanded the attention of the crowd, thanks to the live band music whose irresistible tunes caused several visitors to break out dancing where they stood!
Song and music from the countries involved rent the air throughout the day, including Jarabe Tapatio from Mexico, A Mi Lindo Ecuador from Ecuador and Rueda de Casino from Cuba. Tango and Zumba performances also excited the masses, and there was even a taste of local flavour thanks to a Malaysian band performance readied by the City Hall! A slightly different take on dance and music, engaging games such as the Drum Machine and Arcade Dance Machine attracted their own crowd.
The event, which ended at sundown, also saw a lucky draw with an attractive list of prizes from sponsors. Raffle tickets are priced at RM20 each, with proceeds going to the underprivileged children of Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Kurang Upaya KIRTARSH. One lucky winner netted the first prize of two round trip tickets to Havana, Cuba courtesy of Turkish Airlines, while others took home a slew of interesting prizes including cameras, mobile phones and hotel vouchers.
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