Alexa

Ohio city to celebrate Dominican culture

Southwest Ohio city to celebrate Dominican culture with parade, festival

Ohio city to celebrate Dominican culture

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) -- A southwest Ohio city will help some of its Hispanic residents celebrate one of their nation's patriotic holidays.

Hamilton has scheduled its first Dominican Republic Independence Restoration Day parade for Aug. 17. Restoration Day celebrates the Caribbean nation's successful battle to win back independence from Spain in the 19th century.

Ohio has a small but fast-growing Hispanic population, and the U.S. Census estimates Hamilton's population is more than 6 percent Hispanic/Latino, nearly double the statewide percentage. While people with Mexican roots are usually the largest group, Hamilton has a growing Dominican presence.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports (http://bit.ly/1nsUKNt ) that the parade alone is expected to bring out 2,000 people. State and local officials will take part in the festivities, with food, music and children's activities.

The parade is being organized by the nonprofit Dominican Association. Angel Lombert, of the Hamilton Community Council and president of the Dominican group, said it's hoping to draw people from around the Cincinnati region.

"We've been promoting the city of Hamilton all over the world," Lombert said. "People will come from different cities to visit Hamilton ... and look at what the city offers."

Mayor Pat Moeller sees the celebration as a chance for other residents to learn more about the culture of one of its communities.

"We need to celebrate our diversity," Moeller said. "Diversity makes us stronger."

The parade will include bands, dancers and floats about Dominican history and folklore, with salsa, merengue and bachata dancing.

A big softball tournament with out-of-state teams is scheduled Aug. 16, with a public party and music planned afterward.