Party at the park: Viva Osceola brings salsa music stars to Kissimmee

There will be plenty of opportunities for dancing at Viva Osceola Saturday at Lakefront Park.

Viva Osceola returns to Kissimmee Lakefront Park Saturday.

Osceola County’s biggest and longest-running Hispanic cultural event, Viva Osceola is expected to draw up to 10,000 people.

Organized by the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce and in its 28th year, the festival’s entertainment line-up has been amped up this year, according to the chamber.

The event has grown over the years alongside Osceola County’s Hispanic population, said Chamber President John Newstreet.

“It started when the Hispanic population wasn’t as large as it is now. The idea was to merge the cultures, welcome that new population and celebrate diversity,” he said. “Now it’s evolved into a community gathering and festival that appeals to everyone.”

This year, however, two main acts will be featured. One is Brenda K. Starr at 2:15 p.m. and the other is  Charlie Aponte, who closes out the festival starting at 5:15 p.m.

Starr, an American singer and songwriter, broke into the entertainment industry with hits on the pop and R&B music charts in the 1980s. But for the past 20 years, she has made her mark with a string of salsa hits and has built a strong following in the Hispanic music market.  

Aponte is also popular. The Puerto Rican salsa singer was the lead vocalist for the island’s legendary El Gran Combo for more than 40 years.

Unlike in past years, the acts were booked through a professional entertainment promoter hired to run the event, according to the chamber.

A variety of other musical acts and performances will take the stage between Starr’s and Aponte’s shows. Other acts include: Benny, Frankie G., Georgie DJ, Son Latino and Norma Jay.

Festival-goers can also indulge in Latin foods

and arts with more than 60 vendors. And there

will be plenty of entertainment for the kids too, including an inflatable play park, magicians and clowns.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., and is free to the public.