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Local towns to celebrate Mexican independence
The 202nd anniversary of Mexico's independence will be celebrated throughout the community this year with festivals, performances and the traditional “cry of independence.”
The Consulate of Mexico invites the communities on both sides of the border to a reception and artistic program on Sept. 16. The reception will be held at the Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main St., from 5 to 6 p.m. for the community and will include invited guests from Yuma and Mexico.
During the reception, Ruben Dominguez, Hector Emmanuel and Jose Angel Romero will perform as part of a musical program and Consul Miguel Escobar will share a message about Mexico's independence.
The artistic program will begin at 6 p.m. at the Historic Yuma Theatre, 254 S. Main St.
“The artists will perform traditional Mexican music. It will be like a trip down memory lane, from old to modern songs and accompanied by pianist,” said Manuel Cuen, the consulate's community program coordinator.
From 8 to 8:30 p.m. Oaxaca teachers participating in a teacher exchange program will perform folkloric dances.
The civic ceremony will begin at 8:30 p.m. with Escobar saluting the Mexican heroes and give the “cry of independence.” “Undoubtedly the most important deed of our history is the struggle for independence, which has as its starting point the ‘Grito de Dolores' when founding father Miguel Hidalgo called on Mexico's people to emancipate themselves from Spain,” Cuen said.
The events will be free and open to the community.
The consul will also speak about the history and meaning of Mexico's independence on Sept. 14 at the Yuma County Main Library, 2951 S. 21st Drive. The bilingual talk will take place from 3 to 4 p.m.
The Immaculate Conception Parish, 505 Avenue B, will celebrate Mexico's independence with a traditional “fiesta” Sept. 16 in the church's ramada from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival, organized by the Grupos del Apostolado Hispano, will celebrate “our roots,” said Teresita Kontos, one of the organizers. “It's a way to continue with the traditions of Mexico.”
During the festivities, this year's Reina de la Fiesta Mexicana will be crowned and a musical program will feature local artists. Among the performers will be Dominguez, Romero, Selena Barrera, Lolve Perez, Magdalena Palafox, Antonio Topete, Evita Jaramillo and the bands Grupo Oasys Musical, Salamar and The International Mighty Mushroom, which will close the event.
The celebration will also feature dancing horses, traditional dishes, children's games and contests for best costume, best vendor staging of a Mexican state and best Mexican dish.
At 2 p.m. Mexican Consulate officials will participate in a civic ceremony.
Admission to the fiesta is free; tickets for food are $6 per plate and $1 for children's games.
In Somerton, the 13th Annual Fiestas Patrias will be Sept. 14 at Council Avenue Park, located at Council Avenue and Jefferson Street. The festivities start at 7 p.m.
Somerton city officials said the family-friendly Fiestas Patrias will be the largest event in the county. There is no charge for admission.
Cuen will lead the crowd in the traditional El Grito de Dolores ceremony.
Entertainment this year will feature performances by singer Tony Topete, folk dance troupe Grupo Folklorico Missael from San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., and musical group Los Rezecos de Yuma. Performance times are online at fiestassomerton.com and by phone at the Somerton Fun line at 722-7337 (English) and 722-7338 (Spanish).
A photo booth will offer attendees a souvenir photo of themselves in traditional Mexican costumes. For kids, the fun will include a petting zoo, bounce houses and the walk-on-water ride, Aqua Bobbles. Kids 10 to 17 are invited to enter a marshmallow-eating contest.
The more challenging jalapeño-eating contests will be for adults. In separate events for men and women, contestants are give two minutes to eat as many dilled jalapeños as they can. The winner last year consumed 35. Winners get cash and/or gift cards, and first place also wins a basket filled with antacids and stomach remedies. Complete rules for contests are online at fiestassomerton.com.
Mexican art in a wide variety of styles will be featured in an open-air exhibition. Local and regional artists will present their works.
Freshly prepared regional and Mexican food and drink will be sold throughout the evening.
For more information, call Somerton Parks and Recreation at 627-2058.
San Luis, Ariz., events
In San Luis, Ariz., Mexican independence will be celebrated Sept. 16 at the U-Sell-It Swapmeet, 955 Urtuzuastegui St., with live music, folk dancing, student singers and food. The festivities will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A band will play traditional norteño music, and the Comité de Bien Estar will present traditional dances, according to swap meet manager Joe Harper.
“There will be all kinds of Mexican food, all the traditional foods,” he added.
Escobar will preside over the “grito” ceremony at 10 a.m.
For more information, call Harper at 627-4010.
Yuma County libraries
Yuma County libraries will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 13 at the Somerton Library, 240 Canal St., and Sept. 20 at the Heritage Library, 350 S. 3rd Ave. in Yuma.
The celebration will include activities, food and live traditional music with the group Sikuris!. The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. in Somerton and at 5:30 p.m. at the Heritage Library. Both events are free.
For more information, call the Somerton Library at 627-2149 or the Heritage Library at 783-5415.
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.