Speeches by day turned to music by night as the city’s World Heritage celebrations continued Saturday. Patches of people on blankets and in lawn chairs filled the grassy spaces inside the limestone walls of Mission San José to enjoy live performances by local bands Piñata Protest and Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution.
Hours earlier in the day, public, religious, and civic leaders gathered on the same grassy grounds to celebrate the official UNESCO World Heritage inscription of the Spanish colonial Missions and the Alamo.
Piñata Protest’s front man, Alvaro Del Norte, played the accordion with vigor as he danced from one side of the stage to the other, rallying the crowd. Del Norte moved between Spanish and English as he interacted with the crowd between sets, and even dedicated one of his songs to his love for tacos.
Del Norte, born in Mexico, has lived in San Antonio for about 10 years. He remembers visiting the Missions with his parents when he was a child.
“The designation is just another notch on San Antonio’s belt,” Del Noche said. “It really showcases our culture. San Antonio is one of those great cities with a lot of culture and a lot of great history, and we’re glad to be part of that. ”
Del Noche defines “culture” as the language, food and music in San Antonio.
“Our music is definitely derived from the Tex-Mex music that we grew up listening to – norteño/conjunto/Tejano – but at the same time it is also a mix of other cultures that came to Texas,” he said. “We have songs with an Irish feel to them, we have cumbia, country, a little bit of everything.”
Children, energized by the space and music, let off steam as they ran through the crowd of onlookers.
“It is really nice to see little kids dancing. My band is really lucky. We have a lot of parents who bring their kids because they are trying to get their kids tied into their culture and where they come from,” Del Noche said. “It’s a nice gesture because they are saying, ‘Hey this band is going to show you who you are and where you come from.’”
Norma Zuniga, who works as an administrator officer for the National Park Service, had just left work Saturday evening when she decided to partake in the celebrations. Zuniga has noticed an increase in visitors to the Spanish colonial Missions since they were designated a World Heritage site.
“I’m been working for the park 29 years and to have the Missions as a World Heritage site is exciting,” she said. “It’s going to mean more visitors to the City.”
The celebration continues with an outdoor mass at Mission San José at 3 p.m. Sunday that will be celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller Find a complete list of activities here.