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Make plans to attend the Arkansas Times Latino Food and Music Festival 

There'll be tacos, tamales, salsa and salsa.

click to enlarge CRUZWAY: Set to perform at the Latino Food and Music Festival.
  • CRUZWAY: Set to perform at the Latino Food and Music Festival.

As this writer has been heard to say through a mouth stuffed with tacos al pastor, we're a big supporter of the Latino influx into Central Arkansas over the past few decades. Not only do we get the pleasure of seeing the world through the eyes of friends from different lands, we get the added benefit of having near-instant access to some of the cheapest, freshest, best, most no-nonsense food in the world, cooked by people who know what they're doing — stellar tacos, tortas, tamales, burritos and more, stuffed with fresh ingredients and every meat imaginable.

If you still haven't worked up the courage to go seek out the little Formica-topped dives off of Baseline where the TVs are always tuned to Mexican soap operas and all the Coca-cola bottle labels are in Spanish, the North Point Ford Latino Food and Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14 is your chance to sample what's muy bueno in local Latino cuisine, served up on a night filled with music, dance, cervezas and general merry-making.

The festival will be held at the Argenta Farmer's Market Plaza in North Little Rock from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A $15 general admission ticket ($20 day of event, with kids 12 and under free) will cover music and entertainment from the best Latino musicians around, with performances by Mariachi Americas, Cuban band CruzWay, and Papa Rap.

Food vendors on hand selling items for purchase include many of our faves, including Lonchera El Jarocho, Argentinean ice cream by Luis Bea, Brazilian cuisine by Cafe Bossa Nova, Colombian grub by Luis Gaudet, and Mexican delights from Casa Manana, Las Palmas, the Jalisco Food Truck and Cotijas. The local grocery chain Food Giant will also have a booth set up at the event. Just do yourself a favor and don't eat any pepper offered to you by a person with a Hispanic accent, no matter how tiny and delicious it looks. While the Latino definition of what's edible appears to differ somewhat from the gringo, a flaming tongue needs no translation. We had to learn that lesson the hard way.

The North Point Ford Latino Food and Music Festival is sponsored by North Point Ford, El Latino, Arkansas Times, Budweiser, Pulaski Technical College, and the Argenta Arts Foundation. For more information or to order tickets, hit the festival website at arktimes.com/latinofood.

North Point Ford Latino Food and Music Festival

6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14

Argenta Farmers Market Plaza, North Little Rock

$15, $20 day of event. 12 and under free.

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