Diez y Seis de Septiembre: San Antonio’s Month-Long Grito

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Young members of the folklorico group Alma Gitana perform during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

Young members of the folklorico group Alma Gitana perform during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

On Sept. 16, 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo issued his famous "Grito de Dolores" or "Cry of Dolores," calling for the people to take up arms. Thousands responded for Mexican independence from Spain. Millions of Mexicans and fellow revelers around the world gather during the first hours of Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day, to join in on a synchronized call-and-response.

San Antonio celebrates Mexican Independence throughout the entire month of September.

Organizers of Diez y Seis de Septiembre gathered on Wednesday with guests in La Villita Historic Arts Village for music, dancing, and a press conference to announce the upcoming anniversary.

City leaders recognized the Diez y Seis de Septiembre commissioners and community partners and the audience sang and clapped along to lively, colorful performances by the folklorico group Alma Gitana.

Young members of the folklorico group Alma Gitana perform during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

Young members of the folklorico group Alma Gitana perform during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

“San Antonio has a very dominant and long history of migration from Mexico dating to the late 1800s, and due to that heritage ... the dedication of the Commission will ensure that we continue to honor that tradition,” said Felix Padrón, director of the City’s Department for Culture and Creative Development. The Commission was founded on June 16, 1994 via an initiative brought about by then-Councilman Juan Solis and Mayor Nelson Wolff.

Felix Padrón during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

DCCD Director Felix Padrón at the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

“The majority of the events will be free, and there will be a diverse range of activities for people to enjoy,” Padrón said.

Many events are slated to begin Saturday, Sept. 13, and will focus on education, health, and wellness this year, said commission chairwoman Mari Sandoval-Ayala.

16 de Septiembre Celebration (Sept. 16)

The Avenida Guadalupe Association’s 33rd-annual 16 de Septiembre Celebration will begin at 9 a.m. in Plaza Guadalupe at 1327 Guadalupe Street with a drill team competition and will follow with an 11 a.m. parade through the heart of the historic Westside concluding at Plaza Guadalupe.

The day will include food, a parade, and El Grito Recognition, with Grand Marshal Tres Leches’ Roman Garcia, Danny Ingle and Cleto Rodriguez.

The Association’s events will run from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for the parade and can be made by emailing events@avenidaguadalupe.org or calling (210) 223-3151.

“Diez y Seis de Septiembre is a battle, so there is some recognition of that historic day during our event,” said Commissioner Oscar Ramirez, adding there would be a ceremony at 1 p.m. honoring the Mexican fight for independence.

Una Noche en La Gloria (Sept. 13)

Those interested in fine art may want to check out Una Noche en La Gloria this Saturday from 4:30-11:30 p.m. at Guadalupe and Brazos Street. The event will feature “Runway en la Calle,” fine art exhibitions in the street, artisan vendors, and performances from Latino music greats. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. For more information, call (210) 823-6382 or email lagloriaarts@gmail.com.

Fiestas Patrias (Sept. 13-14)

On Saturday and Sunday, Fiestas Patrias will take place from noon to 11 p.m. and noon to 10 p.m., respectively, in Market Square, offering music and food at the annual League of United Latin American Citizens' celebration, which features folklórico dancers, mariachi musicians, and performances by Norteño, Tejano, and Conjunto groups.

Senior Celebration (Sept. 16)

In collaboration with the City’s Senior Services Division of the Department of Human Services, the Diez y Seis Commission will hold a celebration for seniors at 9 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The event will include food, mariachi music and contests for regional costumes and table decorations.

El Día de los Niños (Sept. 20)

El Día de los Niños, a culture, health, and fitness event, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at La Villita to celebrate the vibrancy and wellness of children, families, and youth. Activities will include zumba, basketball, soccer, and artistic workshops. Art vendors, health and wellness informational tables, and food demonstrations hosted by Wal-Mart will be on hand.

Mariachi on the River (Sept 20)

The three-week celebration will also include a Mariachi Concert at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Arneson River Theatre at La Villita, with middle and high school mariachi groups from San Antonio and surrounding cities.

Members of the Mariachi Corazón de San Antonio pose for a photo during the opening night of the art installation in Main Plaza. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Members of the Mariachi Corazón de San Antonio pose for a photo during the opening night of the SAGA art installation in Main Plaza. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Author, Veteran Panel (Sept. 23)

The following Tuesday, Gil Dominguez, author of “They Answered the Call: Latinos in the Vietnam War,” and a panel of Latino Veterans will discuss their experience during the Vietnam War. Other events hosted by the San Antonio Public Library are scheduled, as well.

Flamenco Fest (Oct. 3-4)

Don’t miss evening and matinée performances of Flamenco Fest Oct. 3-4 at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 723 Brazos St. This two-day celebration features the work of the Parks and Recreation Department’s Flamenco Dance Program, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Dance Co., and other special guests in conjunction with Colectiva Arts and Culture. Tickets range from $15-30 and can be purchased by calling Joel Settles at (210) 440-2753 or emailing joelsettles@gmail.com.

For more information and a full listing of scheduled events for San Antonio’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration, visit www.GetCreativeSanAntonio.com.

*Featured/top image: Young members of the folklorico group Alma Gitana perform during the Diez y Seis de Septiembre press conference. Photo by Katherine Nickas.

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