South Dakota Travel Destinations

South Dakota cultural contributions

The Latino community in Sioux Falls includes several musicians and artists, including a folk-dance group composed of Jose Quesada, his wife, Marla, and her sister, Christine Meza; as well as the cumbia band GuaMex, a Guatemalan-Mexican band. The Festival of Cultures held each June in Falls Park is also a major event in which the Latino community showcases its rich cultural heritage.

Xiomara Lopez, who lives in Tea, just outside of Sioux Falls, is the most notable Latina artist in the state. Her glass, neon, and metal sculptures have been displayed in several states. Her most recent show, Xiomara: Looking through the Glass, ran from April 21 through July 30, 2006, at the Visual Arts Center in Sioux Falls and was a great success.

The Latino community in Huron has grown exponentially with the construction of a Dakota Provisions turkey plant in 2004, which drew hundreds of Latino workers and their dependents. Another major employer in the area, the LSI Jack Links Beef Jerky plant in Alpena, employs approximately 50 Latinos out of a workforce of 655. Besides contributing to the city’s workforce, the growth of the Latino community has created many businesses, including Mazatlan Restaurant, Nikki’s La Mexicana, and Vagabonds Discoteca. While predominantly working class, the Latino community in Huron also includes several professionals from Peru, Panama, and Mexico, from Web designers to bankers to case managers.

Religious life in the Huron Latino community revolves around Holy Trinity Catholic Church, which offers Spanish mass once per month. Several Spanish-language Protestant churches have sprung up in recent years, with ministers from Central America, including Ezequiel Morales, from the Pentecostal Apostolic Christian Fellowship; as well as William Cosme, from the Iglesia de Restauracion.

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