For more than 11 years, El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center, has sought to improve lives and inspire other communities with its model.
Through El Sol Fest, its signature festival, the nonprofit celebrates cultural diversity in Jupiter and Palm Beach County, said Jocelyn Skolnik, El Sol executive director. “It’s a positive opportunity to highlight the richness we have in our town,” she said.
El Sol Fest is set for October 29 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The festival features artists, live music, cultural dance performances, activities for children and authentic Latin food. Admission is free and open to the public.
Organizers recruited local food vendors offering Mexican tacos, El Salvadorian pastries, Honduran baleadas, Peruvian ceviche and more. “Food is such a universal joy and it’s an easy way for us to connect on a human level,” Skolnik said. “We hope people who may not have had the opportunity to try these dishes before will come and enjoy.”
The idea is to appeal to all five senses, Skolnik said. Scheduled performances include bossa nova guitar, Guatemalan marimba, a folkloric dance group, the Jupiter Elementary School Choir and a mariachi band.
El Sol Fest features a petting zoo, pony rides, crafts and games. The large children’s area will also have a miniature train, visits from princesses and cartoon characters, a cake walk and face paintings.
El Sol’s signature festival began as a celebration of art created by its day laborers. Since then, it has grown to attract a diverse collection of South Florida painters, photographers and artisans.
An El Sol Fest favorite, Pedro Chavajay, a Mayan master painter, will have original art on display and available for purchase. Originally from Guatemala, Chavajay explores indigenous themes in his art, but he also draws from his experience as a day laborer in South Florida.
Representing growing art districts in Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach, Rolando Chang Barrero is back after missing last year’s El Sol Fest. A multimedia artist and gallery owner, Barrero is known for bright, but subversive paintings.
His “pájaro” icon deals with sexual identity and Hispanic culture. Barrero is also known for his volunteer and advocacy work with local recovery and cancer survivor communities. He recently contributed to relief efforts for Florida Keys and Puerto Rico residents.
Representing the Northwood Art District, the husband-and-wife team of Craig McInnis and Renata Rodrigues will appear at El Sol Fest after a busy Halloween season. McInnis specializes in mixed-media and murals, and he is creative director at Fright Nights at the South Florida Fair Grounds.
After Rodrigues haunts Fright Nights as Massara, a freak possessed by demons, she will bring her seashell jewelry and mixed-media art to El Sol Fest.
Emerging artists at the festival include Deb Schmidt, a West Palm Beach artist who often explores themes in nature and works with acrylic, water colors and pencils. Rochel Schiffrin, a cut paper artist who works out of Boynton Beach, often explores themes in Judaica and dance. Ryan Chimelis, who lives in in Port St. Lucie, produces gritty photographs and mixed-media pieces.
Through its labor program, the center helps individuals provide for themselves and their families. It also offers adult education, health referrals and nutrition assistance, among other social services. Proceeds from the festival benefit the center’s programs.
El Sol Fest requires months of planning, a dedicated team of volunteers and the support of generous sponsors, which include Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles, Florida Crystals, the Palm Beach Post, the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Jupiter Medical Center, Hampton Forks, Palm Healthcare Foundation, Healthier Jupiter, WPBF 25 West Palm Beach, Estrella TV West Palm Beach, and ESPN Deportes 760 AM.
For more information about El Sol Fest, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-745-9860.