Celebrations on and around 16 de Septiembre have become a cultural centerpiece for the Hispanic community in San Antonio. It commemorates the day that priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made the famous cry –”El Grito de Dolores” – in 1810, which initiated Mexico’s battle for independence from Spain.
The historic date is celebrated all over Mexico and in many other U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago, which are home to large Hispanic populations. People of all ages participate in a grand pachanga that features traditional food, games, music, and entertainment for the whole family.
As is tradition, the City’s Department of Arts and Culture released an official calendar of events Wednesday, featuring cultural events, children and senior citizen programs, and educational endeavors that will take place throughout the city as part of the official annual commemoration.
“Since 1994, thanks to then-Mayor Nelson Wolff, the City has celebrated 16 de Septiembre in recognition of our city’s deep-rooted history and cultural connection to Mexico,” said District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, honorary chair of the Diez y Seis Commission. Wolff established the commission in 1994 to honor Latino heritage in San Antonio.
Each event is created to promote an understanding of the historical significance of Mexico’s day of independence, said Sebastian Guajuardo, special projects manager for the Arts and Culture Department. The Diez y Seis celebrations also coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., Guajardo added, so several celebrations will also take place to honor the special month.
“These are traditions that we continue to honor and that are now more important than ever to share with future generations,” Treviño said at Plaza de Armas during the official kickoff announcement. Members of the Guadalupe Dance Company twirled and danced to traditional music, marking the coming celebrations.
Treviño presented Ambassador and Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio Reyna Torres Mendívil with a proclamation from Mayor Ron Nirenberg, marking the significance of the historic event.
“We’re joining forces with the City of San Antonio, the City’s Department of Arts and Culture, the San Antonio Mexico Friendship Council, and the Cortez family to have an event that very much replicates what we do in Mexico all over the country,” Torres said.
“The Grito ceremony will be outside in the streets, just like we celebrate at the Zócalo in Mexico City and everywhere where Mexicans are. This will not just be a celebration just for Mexicans and people of Mexican origin, but for all San Antonians.”
Read below and mark your calendars – the programming features a diverse range of fun for San Antonio residents and visitors alike.
Saturday, Sept. 9
Ganaderos y Damas de Galvez
10 a.m. | Central Library | 300 Soledad St.
3 p.m. | Maverick Branch Library | 8700 Mystic Park
This presentation and performance aims to educate the public on the substantial contributions that Gen. Bernardo de Gálvez, the governor of Louisiana during the Spanish-colonial period, made during the American Revolution.
Grand Opening Casita de MujerArtes
10 a.m. | MujerArtes Studio | 816 S. Colorado St.
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center will celebrate the grand opening of the new MujerArtes Studio, which is celebrating its 22nd year in the community. Under the guidance of experienced ceramicists and teachers such as poets and visual artists, women shape clay into historic snapshots of their daily lives. Visitors will be able to see the interior and exterior murals and tile art on the new adobe block building. The celebration will include live music, food, and an indigenous blessing. For more information call (210)-228-0201 or click here.
Monday, Sept. 11
8 a.m. | San Fernando Cathedral | 115 Main Plaza
A special mass for the San Antonio Diez y Seis Commission will be held at the San Fernando Cathedral. The public is invited to attend.
Bravo! Mi Cultura Diez y Seis Performance
8 p.m. | Arneson River Theater | 115 Main Plaza
To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department will host an evening of cultural dances, highlighting local talent and young dancers from the department’s dance programs. Spanish Flamenco and Mexican Folklórico dances are among the many dance numbers. For more information, call (210)-207-3132.
Friday, Sept. 15
Fiestas Patrias Artistic Program & Official “El Grito” Ceremony
6 p.m. | Official ceremony begins 8 p.m. at Market Square | 514 Commerce St.
The official “El Grito” ceremony will be led by Ambassador and Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio Reyna Torres Mendívil. The Fiestas Patrias Artistic Program will feature Mariachi music and the Ballet Folkloric de la Universidad Autonomy de Coahuila. For more information call (210)-227-1089 or click here.
Saturday, Sept. 16
5 p.m. | Arneson River Theater | 415 Villita St.
Middle and High School mariachi groups from San Antonio and South Texas will take over the Arneson River Theatre to perform in commemoration of La Independencia. The groups will be awarded a stipend, which encourages cultural education through music and the arts. A performance by the Guadalupe Dance Company also is included in the program. Preshow begins at 3 p.m.
Avenida Guadalupe 35th Annual Parade & Festival
9 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. | Plaza Guadalupe | 1327 Guadalupe St.
The festivities to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day at Plaza Guadalupe begin at noon with a parade that passes through the center of the Westside and ends at the plaza. The all day celebration – sponsored by the Avenida Guadalupe Association, Univision, and H-E-B – will feature food, beverages, and live Tejano, Conjunto, and Mariachi music. For more information click here.
Saturday, Sept. 16 | Sunday, Sept. 17
Fiestas Patrias at Historic Market Square
Saturday: noon-11 p.m. | Sunday: noon-10 p.m. | 514 Commerce St.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 648 will celebrate the Fiestas Patrias at Market Square with two full days of entertainment featuring antojitos and performances by Mariachis and Tejano, Norteño, and Conjunto groups. There also will be exhibit booths with giveaways. For more information, email email@example.com.
Sunday, Sept. 17
Diez y Seis de Septiembre Charreada (exhibition)
2 p.m. | 6127 Padre Dr.
The Asociación de Charros San Antonio will celebrate 16 de Septiembre by putting together a special three-hour exhibition and rodeo. Before the rodeo, food vendors will be available on site. Gates open at 2 p.m. and the show begins at 4 p.m. Tickets for adults are $10 and tickets for children are $5.
Thursday, Sept. 21 | Friday, Sept. 22
Bravo! Latino! Musical Performance
8 p.m. | Arneson River Theater | 418 Villita St.
The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department will host an evening of performances by local teen talent fro the Take Note Band and other guest artists. Performances will include Latin Jazz and Rock, with Spanish and African influences. For more information call (210)-207-3132.
Friday, Sept. 22
9 a.m. | Henry B. González Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3 | 200 E. Market St.
This celebration is organized for senior citizens and members of the City’s Senior Nutrition Program. The event, hosted by the City’s Department of Human Senior Services Division and the Diez y Seis Commission, will include food, Mariachi music, and contests for regional costumes. For more information, call (210)-207-8271.
Friday, Sept 29-Sunday, Oct. 1
Guadalupe Dance Company
Friday & Saturday: 8 p.m. | Sunday: 3 p.m. | Guadalupe Theater | 1301 Guadalupe St.
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Guadalupe Dance Company will pay homage to Mexican culture through creative music and dance. The Guadalupe Academy offers music, dance, and art classes for all ages and skill levels. For more information, call (210)-271-3151 or click here.
Thursday, Oct. 5
Lionel Sosa Speaks @ Central Library
6 p.m. | Central Library | 300 Soledad
Businessman and entrepeneur Lionel Sosa – known best for his work as a Hispanic Media Consultant – will speak about his business and life experience at the Central Library. The event is free and open to the public.
Saturday, Oct. 7
“Somos Flamenco” Performance
8 p.m. | The Carver Community Cultural Center, Jo Long Theater | 226 N. Hackberry
Local dancers and guests from Spain and New Mexico will put on a Flamenco performance at the Carver Community Cultural Center. The event will feature local professionals such as La Sonya, La Morena, El Tiburón Luis Linares, New Mexico’s Vicente Griego, and Pilar Andujar, a cantaor and dancer from Spain. The program is a part of the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.
Azul Barrientos CD Release
8 p.m. | Empire Theater | 226 N. St. Mary’s
Azul Barrientos, known for her haunting and evocative performances at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, will celebrate the release of her new CD at the historic Empire Theatre. During the release, musicians George Prado, Aaron Prado, and Nina Rodriguez will join Barrientos on stage for the evening. For more information and ticket prices, call (210)-228-0221 or click here.
Saturday, Oct. 14
Una Noche en la Gloria (One Night of Glory)
Contemporary Art in the Cultural Zone | 4 p.m.-midnight | Guadalupe Street at Brazos Street
The Contemporary Art and Literature Organization (CALO) and the Avenida Guadalupe Association have come together to organize an event featuring fine art exhibitions in the street, vendors, and a fashion runway featuring Petrecia Flacon and Mary-Esther Medina. It will include performances from artists Al Gomez and the Chris Villanueva Band, Chayito Champion, St. Dukes, Jarrell Flowers, and the Roger Velasquez Band. For more information call (210)-823-6382 or click here.