An all-day celebration of Latin music and culture filled the Marathon Community Park on Dec. 17 as the city hosted its first-ever Marathon Latin Festival. Headlined by Cuban music pioneer Yoandys Lores González – better known by his stage name Baby Lores – proceeds from the festival went to support Somos Esperanza, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to offering hope to disadvantaged families with children suffering from pre-existing conditions or chronic or incurable diseases. 

A family-friendly festival with games filled the daylight hours, while a two-hour segment of local talent preceded a four-hour closing concert with more than 30 Latin music artists.

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the outpouring of support our local community showed for the first ever Marathon Latin Festival,” said event organizer Joey Gonzalez. “I’m eternally grateful to every one of the artists who came to Marathon in support of the beautiful Somos Esperanza foundation. Nearly 1,500 people in attendance with 60 sold-out VIP tables. Thanks to my great friend Baby Lores for having this vision and for trusting his team.

Formerly from Marathon, Israel from Homestead enjoys the challenge of the Meltdown.
Brothers Bryan, left, and Dylan from Hialeah race each other down inflatable slides.
Orlando from Marathon enjoys his ice cream from Naranja Pina gelato.
Baby Lores, right, presents Presents in Paradise directors and city officials with a $2,500 check in support of the organization’s holiday efforts.
Baby Lores, left, and son Davy Lores.
Local performers El Nene Davii, left, and Spobarz.
Eddy Borges, center, performs with backup dancers.
Artist Morena represents Venezuela.
William El Magnifico, center, performs with his dance team.
Chocolate MC performs in one of the evening sets.
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.