Hispanic Heritage Month is nearly upon us, and one City of San Antonio group can't and won't wait to celebrate it. The Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission is getting San Antonians prepped early for its month-long festivities, Fiestas Patrias, which will include a parade, film screenings, dancing, and more from September 8 to October 15.
Although the commemorative month technically starts on September 15, this series kicks off with the opening of a photo exhibition on September 8. San Antonio local Jorge Sandoval looks back on his 45-year career in photography, which he spent dedicated to preserving Chicano Art, according to the official event listing. This exhibition will prime locals not just for a month of Hispanic pride, but pride in the Alamo City, which shows up in different ways across the curated works.
The next events mark the real start of the month as well as Mexican Independence Day, which gives the commission its name — September 16.
The Consulate General of Mexico in San Antonio will host a civic event at Historic Market Square on September 15, called "El Grito" after the battle cry of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla that sparked the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. There will be live Mexican music, folkloric dancers, and food and craft vendors.
The next day — the day el grito really happened — a parade kicks off a couple of multi-day events. This is the 42nd year for the parade, which begins at the corner of Brazos Street and Guadalupe Street. The route doubles as a tour through San Antonio’s historic Mexican American district. Spectators are invited to bring chairs and shade to El Parian and Plaza Guadalupe. Organizers know the heat is not ideal for the parade, so this year it'll start at 9 am.
After the parade, partiers can head to the main event series at Historic Market Square. The League of United Latin American Citizens Council 648 (LULAC) hosts a weekend of mariachi and more folkloric dance, antojitos, and crafts. That Saturday also marks the beginning of URBAN-15’s "Accion!" virtual film screenings, which features the work of 15 filmmakers 21 years old or younger from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the U.S.
Other events for the remainder of Fiestas Patrias 2023:
- September 17: US Mint-Smithsonian Jovita Idár Quarter Celebration at Historic Market Square
- September 23-24: Mezclas Acústicas at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
- September 30: Diez y Seis Mariachi Festival at La Villita Historic Arts Village
- October 13: Celebrando Tradiciones – Cuentos, Bailes y Música at the Guadalupe Theater
- October 14: 6th Annual Fiesta Alegria takes place online
- October 14-15: San Antonio Charro Association Anniversary Charreada takes place at Padre Park
No matter which event or when it's held, each carries significance about Mexico's Day of Independence. The volunteer commission instills lessons among each opportunity to have a good time, in the hopes that the historic victory is remembered.
A full list of Fiestas Patrias events is available at getcreativesanantonio.com. Most are family-friendly and free.