Latin dancers in their colorful costumes will take the stage Oct. 10 during the 10th annual Latin Music Festival at Shelter Cove Community Park.

October is National Arts and Humanities Month, the coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America.

Launched by Americans for the Arts more than 30 years ago, this month-long celebration hopes to achieve the goals of focusing on equitable access to the arts for all; encouraging diverse communities to participate in the arts; allowing governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and raising public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.

Locally, our arts and culture community are a vital component to our local identity and quality of life for our residents. The local economic impact of our nonprofit cultural organizations is $39.1 million dollars for Hilton Head Island alone.

This is comparable with communities four times the size of our population – and doesn’t even count our for-profit galleries and music venues.

Here on the island, we will be celebrating with the fifth annual Crescendo Festival. Crescendo is the month-long celebration of arts and culture and puts on display much of what is inspiring and engaging about our island.

We will start this fantastic celebration Oct. 10 at Shelter Cove Community Park with La Isla’s Latin Music Festival, which begins at noon and continues until 9:30 p.m. We find that this event embodies the mission of National Arts & Humanities Month and are thrilled that it will be the opening Crescendo event.

The Latin Music Festival highlights, honors and celebrates the beautiful Latino culture that surrounds us in the Lowcountry, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year.

It is the perfect opening event for Crescendo, as it allows us to immerse ourselves into the local culture of our Hispanic community. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate through music, dance and food?

Stop by the Culture HHI booth at Latin Music Fest and grab a Crescendo calendar full of the more than 100 arts and culture events going on from Oct. 10 through Nov. 13. In the meantime, mark your calendar for some of these incredible events on the horizon: 

• Oct. 12: Crescendo Community Celebration featuring performances, food, and artist’s booths at Shelter Cove Community Park, 5-7:30 p.m. Oh, and it’s FREE!

• Oct. 22: Symphonic Pops in the Park, presented by Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra at Lowcountry Celebration Park – it’s FREE too.

• Nov. 13: Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade at South Forest Beach, and again, it’s FREE.

Jenn McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Office of Cultural Affairs.