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Queens Theatre to skip Latino Cultural Festival this year

Los Carrangueros perform at the 14th annual Chase Latino Cultural Festival at Queens Theatre in the Park in 2010. The festival was not planned for this year.
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Fans of the Queens Latino Cultural Festival should fear not: The show will go on.

Just not this year.

Despite media reports that the festival had been canceled for 2013 due to funding issues, Queens Theatre Managing Director Taryn Sacramone said the annual event just was not planned because of anticipated construction.

“This is not in any way because of a lack of commitment to the Latino community,” she said.

When the construction timeline changed, festival organizers decided it was too late to plan the event and decided to skip a year.

The delay in planning, coupled with the fact that Sacramone just started her position a few weeks ago, left organizers feeling as if it just did not make sense to host the festival this year.

“To put on a festival when you’re looking for a new managing director with a theater under construction, that’s not the best formula for success,” Sacramone said. “And when we do this, we put our all into it.”

She said the theater’s construction plans involve renovating the main theater and the lobby as well as some other small projects. Programming will be scheduled around the construction, she said.

The box office has received a few calls about whether the festival is on for this year, but they have not been of the “concerned and angry variety,” she said.

The theory that the festival was abruptly canceled is misleading, she said.

Sacramone said staff members of the theater make decisions about programming and then seek sponsors for funding.

“Our mission is about really great programming and great cultural diversity,” she said. “That’s why we’re here. It’s what we’ve always been about.”

Last year the festival celebrated its 16th year in operation. In past years, programming has included short films, comedy acts, art exhibits, dance performances and events for children. The festival often sees 3,000 to 4,000 visitors, according to Sacramone.

“It’s a great festival and something we did successful­ly,” she said. “It served not just the Latino community, because the broader community came, but it celebrated the Latino community year after year.”

Sacramone said organizers plan to bring back the festival, most likely next year, but in the meantime the theater offers year-round programming that features diverse acts, including some Latino ones.

“You don’t have to wait for next summer, regardless,” she said.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 1:52 am, August 23, 2013
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