Skip to main content

South Salt Lake Journal

Festival-goers celebrate the end of summer Brazilian style

Jul 01, 2022 10:26AM ● By Jesse M. Gonzalez

By Jesse M. Gonzalez | [email protected]

South Salt Lake may be a long way from Brazil, but that didn’t stop nearly 100 locals from attending Festa Junina, the Brazilian June Harvest Festival on June 18 at Shades Brewing in South Salt Lake. The event was organized and planned by Carla Locatelli, a Brazilian native who moved to the United States in 2001, and Jessica Hunt, a Salt Lake City local with close ties to the Brazilian culture. Both women are directors of the Brazilian Arts Center, a local nonprofit organization.

For those living in the northern hemisphere where the summer season has just started, Festa Junina, meaning “June Festival,” marks the end of summer for those living in the southern hemisphere. It was introduced to Brazil in the 16th century by the Portuguese as a Midsummer celebration, then was later adapted into a festivity of harvest as well as a religious celebration of saints.

“It is a really old tradition in Brazil. It’s a celebration of harvest with a lot of different traditions, and depending on each state, you’re going to see a lot of different things,” said Locatelli, who was born in the Brazilian city of São Paulo.

As the largest country in both South and Latin America, Brazil is home to a multiplicity of different cultural traits and customs, and so Locatelli, Hunt and the rest of their team tried to unite all of the states of Brazil and their common traditions to make every Brazilian native feel at home, even for a day—and for anyone else, regardless of ethnic, racial or national background, to enjoy themselves and get a feel for Brazilian culture.

Forró, a lively and festive musical style that many Brazilians dance to, was taught by an experienced dance instructor named Marcos Costa. The dance class then later put their new skills to the test as the skilled forró musicians of Diego Brazuca Band played during most of the event. 

Traditional Brazilian food such as canjica and pamonha were served to guests eager to get a taste for the country’s local cuisine.

“I feel like I am back home in Brazil, with the music, the food and everything,” said Michelle Dos Santos, who was born in Brazil and now resides in Salt Lake City.

Aside from Brazilian natives, many others from different backgrounds attended, which incorporated more diversity into the event as it is in the South American country, which is predominantly a multicultural area, stemming from hundreds of years of colonization and socialization.

“I think everybody should be welcome to celebrate their own culture this way. I think it’s wonderful that we can have an event like this at all in Utah,” said Tal Pierre, a Salt Lake City local who came to the event with friends from Central America.

There will be one change to next year’s celebration.

“Since it was held at Shades Brewing, no children were allowed and that’s no fun. This is a very kid-friendly kind of party so eventually we want to do it somewhere else where Shades can still be involved but where we can also have kids,” Locatelli said. “Anyone is welcome to join us next year for Festa Junina.”