A mariachi band performs during 2017's Festival Latino. The event, which began in a parking lot near Queen Avenue in Albany about 20 years ago, has grown into a full-day festival that typically attracts hundreds of people every year. This year's festival is scheduled for Sunday in Albany's Monteith Riverpark.

The annual Festival Latino started small about 20 years ago in a parking lot near Queen Avenue in Albany and has only grown since.

The exact origin and when the festival stopped moving between Albany and Corvallis, and finally settled in Albany, is part of an oral history passed down from volunteers who say this year’s festival is set to be the biggest yet.

“I’m excited for the pupusas,” said volunteer Jaya Lapham of a traditional flatbread. Lapham is a member of the Hispanic Advisory Committee, which puts on the festival, sponsored by Cascade Pacific Conservation and Development in Corvallis.

There'll be plenty of food, said Lapham and fellow volunteer Tammy Skubinna, but this year's event, to be held Sunday in Albany's Monteith Riverpark, will have much more.

A children’s area with materials from the local library will be manned by high school volunteers. In addition, about 15 tables representing organizations like the ABC House and Linn-Benton Community College will offer information.

Air Force veteran Graciela Tiscareno-Sato will also give a talk on her book, “Captain Mama.”

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“She’ll talk about her experience in the armed forces and being a mother,” Lapham said.

The event will also feature a fun run and entertainment ranging from salsa bands to mariachi singers to rock bands.

While the festival is focused on Latino culture, volunteers say it's open to everyone and encourage residents to visit Monteith Park this weekend.

“I’ve been to a few of these and I can’t speak a lick of Spanish,” Skubinna said. “I’ve seen all different people dancing to the music and having a good time. People of all backgrounds should come because it’s a great way to experience the culture.”

The main events of Festival Latino will run from 1 to 5 p.m. with registration for the 10 a.m. fun run beginning at 9. For more information, visit albanyvisitors.com/event/festival-latino-2018-2/.

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