Today I attended Junta Hispana at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Junta Hispana is a Hispanic cultural festival that includes all twenty Spanish-speaking countries. A list of Spanish speaking countries can be found here.
I knew before attending that a passport was available at welcome booths. I did not enter the festival near the welcome booths so did not get a passport. Participants could get their passport stamped at five locations to enter a drawing for a $100 grocery gift card.
As I entered Flushing Meadow Corona Park I was surprised to see that many people had their personal shopping carts. The reason for the carts quickly became apparent. This festival has many free items. Especially at the Rite Aid and grocery areas. The Rite Aid line was long but not as long as the grocery line. I noticed that some people got back in the same line and did it again. I waited in the Rite Aid line but not the grocery line.
I had hoped to have lunch at the festival but there was not a lot of food options and as a vegetarian there was not anything I wanted. There were plenty of drinks for sale and as free samples.
The line for paper products (toilet paper, paper towels) was very long. People had to spin a wheel to try to win. I decided not to stand in line for toilet paper. But I did stand in the shorter lines for Carolina Rice, Bustelo Iced Coffee, Carbonell Olive Oil Products, and Magnolia Condensed Milk (to win a chance at a hat). To win a Magnolia baseball cap participants had to get one of three balls to stay on table between cans. I am bad at such things and did not win.
My loot. (Of course this does not include all of the samples I ate and drank at the festival).
I ended up with a lot of shampoo and hair product samples. My favorite items are the Maybelline New York makeup bag (middle-left), Carbonell calendar (bottom-middle), and Carbonell dish towel (bottom-right).
The festival had booths for each of the Spanish speaking countries. There was not as much action around the booths (not as many free items). Most booths had tourist information and items for sale. There were many beautiful and unique items. I kept looking up to see which countries booth I was at. The Costa Rica booth had free samples of strawberry tea and some cream type drink. I asked the man what it was. He said, “It is cream from Costa Rica, it is good, try it!” I thought it was OK but would not buy it if I had the opportunity.
I would recommend this festival but warn vegetarians that it is not a good place for a meal. Also if you want shorter lines attend as early as possible.