VACAVILLE — Offering a taste of home for some and a chance to explore a different culture for others, the 12th annual Festival de la Isla drew hundreds of people to Peña Adobe Park to celebrate all things Puerto Rican.
Some people carried Puerto Rican flags, others wore jerseys of the national soccer and baseball teams, all wore smiles as they enjoyed live music and plenty of food.
Some brave souls even hit one of three dance floors set up on the grass in front of the stage to fully enjoy the music.
Some just watched as they were treated to a number of live acts and even traditional Puerto Rican dancers.
“It’s the first time we’ve been here in seven or eight years. The music is fantastic, it’s a great family atmosphere,” said Cathy Araya of Fairfield as she took in the festival with husband, Tony.
This year’s theme for the festival was, in fact, family unity.
Both marveled at the quality of the entertainment.
“Great dancers,” Tony Araya said.
“We love Salsa and we miss it,” his wife said.
The festival attracted people from all over, as well.
“We met couples from Tracy, Stockton, so it’s not just locals,” Cathy Araya said.
Even the entertainment was from all over.
“It’s a great thing for Vacaville, for the Vacaville area,” Tony Araya said. “You’ve got these people coming all the way from New York and Miami to play music here in Vacaville, that’s kind of special.”
With food vendors lined up around the park, offering everything from tacos to shaved ice, people had plenty to choose from.
“It’s a great event,” Tony Araya said. “It’s a real nice event and I’m glad we made it here. We’ve been here since first thing this morning and we’ll probably be here ’til the end.”
The festival offered something for everyone, with vendors peddling their wares and a whole area just for kids.
Children were able to romp in one of two bounce houses, take pony rides, or cool off on one of two inflatable water slides.
People sat under tents, umbrellas and portable canopies in lawn chairs to escape the 90-plus degree heat.
Some ate, some bobbed their heads to the music and some even slept.
For more than a few, the festival offered up a taste of home.
Puerto Rican native Robert Guevara, 19, was taking in his first Festival de la Isla.
“It’s pretty cool. This is the first time I’ve been to this festival, but I like it so far,” said the freshman at Diablo Valley College, who came to Vacaville from Hercules. “A lot of people.”
Guevara said he was happy to see all the people and hear the music.
“I feel just like home, all the music, all the people,” he said. “There must be people dancing out there, so it has to be like my home.”
Guevara said he’s been in the Bay Area for two months, and he was starting to miss home.
“I have to have food. I miss my food,” he said.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.com/mcorposdr.