Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Tri-Cities

It is no secret that the Tri-Cities has great Hispanic heritage throughout our community. It is displayed everywhere, from wine and food to art and music. As we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month here in the Tri-Cities, join us in celebrating the cultures and contributions of the Hispanic community, representing people from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South Americas!

Wine & Food

If you love wine tasting, the Tri-Cities is the ideal destination for wine enthusiasts. Known as "The Heart of Washington Wine Country®," the Tri-Cities region houses more than 200 wineries within a 50-mile radius. While there is plenty to taste, on your next visit to Washington Wine Country be sure to include the following Hispanic-owned wineries that produce world-class wines: Martinez & Martinez Winery and Monarcha Winery/Palenica Wine Company.

The Martinez & Martinez Winery story began in 1981 with a small vineyard planted in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in the Tri-Cities region by Sergio and Kristy Martinez. Those vines were the first steps of the Martinez family's dream of creating amazing wine from their own vineyard. That dream was passed on to their son, Andrew, who watched his father flourish in the viticulture industry.

In 2005, the Martinez family (Sergio, Kristy, Andrew and his wife Monica) made the leap from viticulture into winemaking with their own label, Martinez & Martinez Winery. The family-owned and -operated winery is in the Winemaker’s Loft in Prosser’s Vintners Village.

Martinez & Martinez wines pay homage to the extremely labor-intensive work done in the vineyard, executed predominantly by workers of Hispanic heritage, to make Washington's world-class wines.

Victor Palencia, owner and winemaker of Monarcha Winery and Palencia Wine Co, has deep roots in the Washington wine industry. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, and raised in Prosser surrounded by vineyards, Victor’s journey into winemaking began at 13 years old, following in the footsteps of his father. He spent his formative years in the area’s renowned vineyards, learning the importance of quality grapes in creating award-winning wines. After working for a variety of wineries, Victor launched his own winemaking ventures: Monarcha Winery in Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village and Palencia Wine Company in Bodega Palencia in West Richland.

Victor’s heritage and family story are told through his wine labels. Monarcha Winery labels feature the endangered butterflies of the same name. The colorful butterflies annually travel from the mountain forests of Mexico and through the United States, which Victor says is a reflection of his family legacy. The Palencia Wine Company label pays tribute to Victor’s father, who was known to always have a shovel with him, calling the implement the key to the land.

Victor Palencia and his father David

Wine can, of course, be enjoyed alone; but like most things in life, it is best enjoyed with food! The Tri-Cities is teeming with delicious eateries and is home to some of the best nosh spots in eastern Washington. Hispanic heritage is reflected in tasty epicurean delights, you’re sure to find a new favorite dish.

Don Rubio’s
in Pasco is a family-owned taqueria with tasty tacos including the Asadanator—this is a “must taste” taco in the Tri-Cities and “Best Taco” winner of the 2022 Downtown Pasco Taco Crawl.

Also in Pasco, Vinny’s Café, Bakery & Bistro is a local favorite thanks to the delicious tortas, conchas and more, but perhaps its most celebrated item is the Cuban Sandwich—so much so, that it caught the attention of Food Network’s Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Remember Victor Palencia? He not only knows wine, he knows food! Victor is co-owner of Culture Shock Bistro Food Truck, located near his winery in Columbia Gardens featuring Spicy Chicken Sandwiches, Shrimp Tacos and more.

Check out other mouthwatering restaurant options in the Tri-Cities.

Cuban Sandwich from Vinny's Café, Bakery & Bistro

Festivals & Events

Downtown Pasco is unarguably the heart of the Tri-Cities Hispanic community, featuring restaurants, shops and events that celebrate all aspects of Hispanic heritage. At its core is the Mercado, also known as Peanuts Park, the location of the Pasco Farmers Market and numerous food trucks. Shops in Downtown Pasco display a colorful reflection of the Tri-Cities’ Hispanic population featuring elaborate dresses for quinceañeras, guayaberas, festive jewelry, décor and delicious food. The community gathering place is also known for several iconic events, but there are festivals celebrating Hispanic culture in every corner of the Tri-Cities!

Be sure to mark your calendars for these not to miss events!

Downtown Pasco Taco Crawl: Each April Downtown Pasco invites taco enthusiasts to check out the goods at taco hot spots in search of the tastiest taco. For a mere $35, taco crawlers have two weeks to use the booklet they receive filled with tickets for one taco at 20 different restaurants and taco trucks throughout Downtown Pasco. Taco tasters then vote for their favorite taco purveyor.

Mariachi & More Festival:
Experience the sweet sounds of mariachi music. Bands from through the Pacific Northwest and beyond descend on the event held at Columbia Park in Kennewick every June. This music festival delivers traditional Mexican entertainment with the sounds of top Northwest mariachi bands, local bands, authentic Mexican food, and children’s activities with riverside views.

Tri-Cities Michelada Festival:
Micheladas are a fun twist on the ever-popular refreshment: beer. With lime juice, assorted sauces, spices, Chamoy and a salt rim, micheladas are the perfect beverage to enjoy on a hot summer day here in the Tri-Cities! The Tri-Cities Michelada Fest celebrates this quintessential beer cocktail every August with food, live entertainment, games, and a competition for the best Michelada!

Fiery Foods Festival:
This is a festival so hot that it must be held after the dog days of summer in September! Celebrate the spice of life with a Fiery Farmers Market, salsa tasting, the celebrity pepper gauntlet, live music, family-friend activities and more!

Tri-IDEAs is a program exploring and celebrating Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility through tourism in the Tri-Cities.

At Visit Tri-Cities, we believe travel is transformative on multiple levels. Exploring new destinations exposes us to different ideas, cultures, history, heritages and people. Through Tri-IDEAs, Visit Tri-Cities will connect with local business owners, community leaders, event organizers, residents and more to highlight, share and celebrate the diversity of the Tri-Cities that can be experienced through travel and tourism activities.