RAINY weather did not deter the hardy souls who took to the Garden of the Future in White Hills on Saturday.
Cheerful colours dotted the market stalls and music played for the first Latin Festival in Bendigo held by the Hispanos Unidos de Victoria.
Liliana Bravo-Quiroz, who grew up in Columbia, started her label Casa Bonita Lifestyle to help her daughters connect with their culture.
Her stall at the festival was full of bright handicrafts made by women in the traditions of her homeland.
She has a shop in Seddon, in Melboune's inner-west, which imports goods and functions as a hub for artisans.
"I came to Australia when I was 16 years old to study English at the Hawthorne Language Centre," she said.
Ms Bravo-Quiroz has also completed double masters degree in commerce and international business at Deakin University. She established her shop, which has multiple independent businesses under one roof, to connect with other Latin American and migrant women and promote women's empowerment.
"This is a way to be connected with my roots and pass on the traditions to my daughters and the Australian community," she said.
The festival also had food trucks and music performances, dance and storytelling.
Hispanos Unidos de Victoria president Jorge Restrepo said he had looked forward to holding an event in central Victoria for many years.
"The community is growing and yesterday we discovered more Latinos here in Bendigo and also met some people who did not know about us so it was a great to meet," he said.
"Here in Bendigo we have Peruvians, Columbians, Mexicans, Salvadorians and Venezuelans. People came from Melbourne for it the festival and it was amazing to meet these people who had been living in Bendigo for a while."
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Mr Restrepo said many of the people who attended had danced in the rain and enjoyed the festival atmosphere.
"People were really happy with the band - it was a good closing - the Latin band Calle Luna, it was really good."
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