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Latinos in Lane County celebrate Independence Day with carne asada BBQ

(KMTR image)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Families in Oregon celebrate the Fourth of July in many ways. Lane County’s Latino community talked about what Independence Day means to them.

With a growing population of Latinos in Oregon, many partake in what they call their holiday too.

Some families say they're happy to be a part of two cultures, not just one.

While lots of people barbeque hot dogs and hamburgers, many Latinos prepare for a traditional 'carne asada' BBQ to spend time with their family this holiday.

“Cada consejitivo ano vinimos y vinimos y hacemos carne asada y los juntamos entre familia y es lo que hacemos para festejar el dia." ("Every year we come together as a family to celebrate the day and we BBQ carne asada," said Fidel Aguilar Sanchez of Eugene.

Sanchez has been in Eugene for 18 years and gets together with his family every Fourth of July to celebrate what he calls his country now.

"Nos estamos acostumbrando a todo, es un pais que nos esta ayundao como, dijieramos..se siente vien que un pais se coja de sierta manera." ("We are getting accustomed to everything; this is a country that has welcomed us and helped us.")

According to a study by Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon's Latino population has grown 72 percent since the year 2000.

Alva Santoyo Gomez was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was just 3 years old, and is happy to partake in what she calls both of her cultures.

"We celebrate both countries. All the different holidays for both countries...it’s a lot of fun," she said.

According to the US Census, Latinos make up about 9 percent of Lane County's population, surpassing any other ethnicity.

For many, it's an important day to celebrate the United States culture and have quality time with their families.

"Muy importante para nosotros, siempre mantenemos la queremos tern la junto pues, a ver los quetes y a tronar algunos que compramos para los ninos." ("It is very important for us to spend time together, and fun to watch the fireworks, and light some of our own fireworks," said Andres Aviles of Eugene.

It’s a tradition these Latino families plan to carry on for years to come.

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