Lakeway International Food Festival to return

Dancers perform at a previous HOLA Lakeway International Food Festival.

HOLA Lakeway is thrilled to announce that the community-favorite Lakeway International Food Festival will return this year.

The organization was forced to cancel last year’s festival due difficulties associated with pandemic restrictions.

This year’s festival will take place on Sept. 4 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Downtown Green and Farmer’s market.

It is free to attend.

The event will feature varied food vendors from many locales including, so far, Argentina, Bolivia, India, Italy, Mexico, Micronesia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Various arts and craft vendors and nonprofits will also attend and present.

The festival was first conceived to highlight the Hispanic & Latino community’s steady growth into an important part of the Lakeway Area’s cultural, economic, and social character. Over the past half-decade, it has grown into a treasured institution in the region that showcases the important and unique contributions that the immigrant families of the Lakeway Area make in our community.

According to HOLA, at its core, this event is about building bridges between and among the diverse peoples of the Lakeway Area.

“When we made the difficult decision to cancel last year’s festival, we said our commitment to continue this tradition was strong … we meant it,” said KC Alvarado, co-founder, and current chairwoman of the HOLA Lakeway Board.

This year’s festival will be the most diverse in the event’s history according to Betsy Hurst, HOLA’s executive director. “We’ve had tremendous support from our community, as evidenced by this year’s new and repeat sponsors,” said attorney Willie Santana HOLA’s co-founder. “This support has allowed us to put together what we hope will be a quality event everyone can be proud of.”

For more information regarding sponsorship and vendor opportunities, or to volunteer or contribute to HOLA Lakeway’s activities call 423-621-9065.

“We still have a few vendor spaces and sponsorship opportunities, but those are going quick,” said Santana.

This year’s Platinum-Level sponsors include the Morristown Task Force on Diversity, KC Entertainment, Frank’s Weld Works and Lakeway Transit.

HOLA’s goal for the festival has always been to create an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the Lakeway Area’s rich and diverse culture.

The organization also hopes to make a lasting contribution to the local economy by attracting nearby residents to visit, eat, and shop. HOLA Lakeway is a locally grown and locally-led nonprofit based out of Morristown.

Its mission is to facilitate the positive integration of immigrant families of Hamblen County and the Lakeway area into the greater fabric of the community.

The International Food Festival is an event held in support of that goal.

HOLA Lakeway succeeded the Latino Task Force of Morristown in 2014.

In 2018, the organization began to see a growth in the community of immigrant families from other parts of the world like India, Micronesia and Pakistan and decided to expand its efforts to serve all immigrants in the community.

Today, HOLA Lakeway is a grassroots, community-based organization with the mission of meeting needs and improving the overall quality of life for the immigrant population in East Tennessee’s Lakeway region.

HOLA Lakeway offers various educational programs, such as English and Spanish classes but is also actively involved in a variety of grassroots projects such as coordinating with the COVID-19 Task Force and Hamblen County’s Complete Count Committee.