A wide array of Latino food, entertainment and culture goes on display in October during the 9th annual Latino Festival of Monmouth County.

The Latino Festival revisits downtown Freehold on October 5th to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month which runs from September 15th to October 15th. Festival Chair Angel Matos says the event will highlight the diversity of the Latino community. "I mean we all share a similar language. We all speak Spanish but we all have different cultural norms and so those norms are displayed at our festival via entertainment, via food, explains Matos."

However, education is a key component of the festival. Matos says they will once again be awarding hundreds of dollars for the best essays on Latino contributions to society written by grammar school and middle school children in Monmouth County and students don't have to be Latino to participate.

"By having people just think about their relationships. It could be as simple as someone down the block or someone they came in contact with. It gets them to think a little bit more about the similarities more than the differences, says Matos."

500 to 800 word essays can be sent to crandallmcm@msn.com by midnight September 27th.

The festival takes place Saturday October 5th at the Hall of Records Parking lot and has expanded to Lafayette Street from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. The rain date is Sunday October 6th.

Get a complete schedule at www.lfomc.com