On Sept. 16, 1810, the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the townspeople of Dolores Hidalgo and gave the famous cry, or “grito de dolores,” which sparked the beginning of Mexico’s battle for independence from Spain. Hidalgo called for freedom, liberty, and equality for all Mexican citizens and to this day, the historic date is celebrated all over Mexico as Mexican Independence Day.

Nearly two centuries later, San Antonio also continues to celebrate the occasion. This year will be no different, considering the city’s vast Hispanic population and deeply rooted historical and cultural connections with Mexico.

The City’s Department for Culture & Creative Development (DCCD) and Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission hosted a kick-off event at Plaza de Armas on Wednesday to announce this year’s schedule of events commemorating the 206th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence from Spain.

“As many of you know, San Antonio has a long, rich history and connection to Mexico and we commemorate many important Mexican holidays and historical events,” said DCCD Interim Director Debbie Racca-Sittre.

She reminded attendants that Texas was a part of Mexico during the time of Mexican Independence, and noted the importance of celebrating the event as a way to “strengthen the historical and educational connection” that continues to benefit the diverse communities within the city.

The Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission was established in 1994 by Mayor Nelson W. Wolff, with the goal of hosting various city-wide cultural events and educational programs throughout the month of September in order to shed light on the significance of Mexico’s day of independence. The commission also seeks out other events in the city that align with the mission of the organization and adds them to the schedule. This year, there are so many related events that programming will spill over into the month of October.

The kickoff event on Wednesday featured light refreshments and a lively dance performance by the Guadalupe Dance Company. Instituto Cultural de México Director Mónica del Arenal and Nuria Olascoaga, a representative of the Mexican Consulate, both partook the festivities.

Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), honorary chairman for the 2016 commission, emphasized the fact that the calendar of events is available in both English and Spanish at all San Antonio Public Library branch locations and other areas throughout the city. To view the calendar online, click here.

Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) waves a Mexican flag following the public announcement. Photo by Scott Ball.
Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) waves a Mexican flag following the public announcement. Photo by Scott Ball.

“I encourage our San Antonio residents and visitors to take this opportunity to reflect and learn more about our city’s history and influences,” Treviño said. “We look forward to seeing you at these events – and Viva México!”

There are ample opportunities for the community to celebrate Mexico’s Independence over the next several weeks, including events featuring dance and music performances, local vendors, religious celebrations, and even a charreada.

“We are also preparing ourselves for the festivities with a commemoration that will take place on Sept. 15 in Market Square,” del Arenal said in Spanish. Details for the event can be found in the list below. “We hope that all the Mexicans, Latinos, and Chicanos who live in this beautiful city celebrate this ‘patriotic month.’”

Director of Instituto Cultural De México Mónica del Arenal. Photo by Scott Ball.
Director of Instituto Cultural De México Mónica del Arenal. Photo by Scott Ball. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Below, you can find a schedule of events:

Friday, Sept. 9 | Saturday, Sept. 10 |Sunday, Sept. 11

Solamente Una Vez: An Homage to Agustin Lara
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave.
8 p.m. Friday & Saturday | 3 p.m. Sunday
Performances by San Antonio music artists Azul Barrientos with Aaron Prado, George Prado, and Nina Rodriguez. Cabaret-style seating. For more information, call 210-228-0201 or visit the Esperanza website. Pre-sale tickets cost $12, tickets at the door cost $15.

Saturday, Sept. 10 | Sunday, Sept. 11

“Fiestas Patrias” at Historic Market Square (Free)
514 Commerce St.
Noon- 11 p.m. Saturday |Noon -10 p.m.
Join LULAC Council 648 for two days of entertainment, delicious “antojitos,” alongside musical performed by Mariachis, Tejano, Norteño, Conjuntos, and oldies groups. Exhibit booths will feature free giveaways. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for college-bound students. For more information email pueblo31@yahoo.com.

Sunday, Sept. 11

Mass (Free)
San Fernando Cathedral, 115 Main Plaza
8 a.m.
A special mass for the San Antonio Diez y Seis Commission will be held at the San Fernando Cathedral. The public is welcome to attend.

Thursday, Sept. 15

Fiestas Patrias Artistic Program & Official “El Grito” Ceremony (Free)
Market Square, 514 Commerce St.
Program begins at 6 p.m. | Official ceremony begins at 8 p.m.
The Mexican Consulate in San Antonio and the Instituto Cultural are partnering with Mi Tierra‘s Cortez Family to celebrate the official ceremony of “El Grito,” led by the Mexican Consul General Hector Eduardo Velasco Monroy. This year, the festivities will take place outside in Market Square and will feature aguas frescas as well as several street vendors. The Ballet Folklórico Cotzal, Mariachi Latino, and singer Rozenda Bernal will perform during the festivities. For more information call (210) 227-1089 or visit the Mexican Consulate’s website.

Friday, Sept. 16

Bravo! Mi Cultura Diez Y Seis Performance (Free)
Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St.
8 p.m.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department presents Bravo! Mi Cultura Diez Y Seis! Come enjoy an evening of cultural dance selections, highlighting local talent and young dancers from the SA Parks and Recreation Department’s Dance Programs. Dance numbers include Spanish Flamenco and Mexican Folklórico. For more information call (210) 207-3132.

Senior Kermes
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Exhibit Hall B, 200 E. Market St.
9 a.m.
In collaboration with the City’s Department of Human Services Senior Services Division, the Diez y Seis Commission hosts a celebration for seniors. The event features food, mariachi music, and contests for regional costumes and table decorations. This event is exclusively for members of the City’s Senior Nutrition Program. For more information call (210) 207-8271.

Guadalupe Dance Company
Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St.
8 p.m.
The Guadalupe Dance Company will celebrate Fiestas Patrias with a beautiful representation of Mexican culture through creative music and dance. Celebrating its 25th year, the Dance Company preserves and promotes traditional Mexican Folklórico and Flamenco dance. The Guadalupe Academy offers dance, music, and arts classes for all ages and levels. For more information call (210) 271-3151 or visit the Guadalupe Dance Company’s website. Tickets cost between $15-$30.

Saturday, Sept. 17

Mariachi Concert (Free)
Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St.
5 p.m., pre-show begins at 3 p.m.
This event features middle and high school mariachi groups from San Antonio and South Texas. Groups are awarded a stipend to support their respective mariachi programs and to encourage cultural education through music and the arts. The evening will feature special dance performances by the Guadalupe Dance Company.

Avenida Guadalupe 35th Annual Parade and Festival (Free)
Plaza Guadalupe, 1327 Guadalupe St.
Noon – 10:30 p.m.
In celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day, the Avenida Guadalupe Association welcomes San Antonio communities and visitors to participate in the 35th Annual 16 de Septiembre Celebration. The event begins at noon with a parade that marches through the heart of the historic Westside and ends at the Plaza Guadalupe. The plaza will then become home to a variety of festivities, food booths, live entertainment, and live Tejano, Conjunto, and Mariachi music. For more information, click here or call (210) 223-3151.

Sunday, Sept. 18

Diez y Seis de Septiembre Charreada (Exhibition)
6126 Padre Dr.
1 p.m.
Join the Asociación de Charros San Antonio as we celebrate 16 de Septiembre. Gates open at 1 p.m. and food vendors will open before the rodeo. The rodeo is expected to last three hours. For more information email sanantoniocharros@hotmail.com. Adult tickets are $10 and kids’ tickets are $5.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

“Entre lo sagrado y lo profano” music show
San Antonio Museum of Art, Colonial art room.
200 W. Jones Ave.
Time: T.B.A
Música Virreinal – Spanish-colonial period music show hosted by the Instituto Cultural de México. Music by Los Tonos Humanos ensemble.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

“Entre lo sagrado y lo profano” music show
Mission Concepción
807 Mission Rd.
6 p.m.

Música Virreinal – Spanish-colonial period music show hosted by the Instituto Cultural de México. Music by Los Tonos Humanos ensemble. At the end of the show, there will be a toast in the Mission’s portal.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Bravo! Latino! Musical Performance (Free)
Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St.
9 p.m.
In celebration of Fiestas Patrias, the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department presents Bravo! Latino!, an evening of musical selections presenting local teen talent from the award winning program Take Note Band and guest artists. This performance will include songs and compositions of Latin Jazz and Rock with influences from Spanish and African indigenous sources. For more information call 210-207-3132.

Hispanic Genealogy (Free)
Jon Igo Library, 13330 Kyle Seale Pkwy.
2 p.m.
Sylvia Reyna, genealogist/librarian for San Antonio Public Library’s genealogy department, will offer guidance for researching Hispanic ancestors.

Friday, Sept. 23

Bravo! Latino! Musical Performance (Free)
Arneson River Theater, 418 Villita St.
10 p.m.
In celebration of Fiestas Patrias, the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department presents BRAVO! LATINO!, an evening of musical selections presenting local teen talent from the award winning program Take Note Band and guest artists. This performance will include songs and compositions of Latin Jazz and Rock with influences from Spanish and African indigenous sources. For more information call 210-207-3132.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Citizenship Celebration at las Palmas Library (Free)
Las Palmas Library, 515 Castroville Rd.
3 p.m.
Come celebrate our new and upcoming citizens at the Las Palmas library, and ensure that you and family members who are eligible to vote this election season are registered.

Monday, Sept. 26

Su Voto es Su Voz Civic Engagement (Free)
6 p.m. Bazan Library, 2200 W. Commerce| Pan American Library 1122 W. Pyron Ave.| McCreless Library 1023 Ada St.
Members of the League of Women Voters, Mi Familia Vota, and NALEO will be registering voters and giving a presentation on candidate evaluation for this election season.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

Su Voto es Su Voz Civic Engagement (Free)
Memorial Library, 3222 Culebra
6 p.m.
Members of the League of Women Voters, Mi Familia Vota, and NALEO will be registering voters and giving a presentation on candidate evaluation for this election season.

Hispanic Genealogy (Free)
Pan American Library, 1122 W. Pyron Ave.
10 a.m.
Sylvia Reyna, genealogist/librarian for San Antonio Public Library’s genealogy department, will offer guidance for research on Hispanic ancestors.

Saturday, Oct. 1

“Jaleos” Flamenco Performance
Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St.
8 p.m.
The advanced dance program at SA Parks and Recreation presents Jaleos, a celebratory dance production of the division’s humble beginnings in 1934, with over 80 years of dance programming. Jaleos features professional performances by La Sonya, La Morena, guitarists Luisma Ramos and Luis “El Tiburon” Linares, and cantaor Vicente Griego of New Mexico. Ticket prices range from $15-50. For more information, click here or call (210) 271-3151.

Tuesday, Oct. 4

Hispanic Genealogy (Free)
Collins Garden Library, 200 N. Park
2 p.m.
Sylvia Reyna, genealogist/librarian for San Antonio Public Library’s Genealogy Department, will offer guidance for researching Hispanic ancestors.

Thursday, Oct. 6

SATX/MX: Un Viaje Lleno de Cultura Exhibit Opening Reception (Free)
Centro de Artes Building, 101 S. Santa Rosa Ave.
6 p.m.
This contemporary art exhibit showcases the connectivity of San Antonio’s artistic community to Mexico, and celebrates the deeply held tradition of cultural exchange between Texas and Mexico. SATX|MX aligns with the City of San Antonio’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission programming mission. Some of the artists being considered are naturalized citizens, while others have had family in Texas for several generations.

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

Top image: Guadalupe Dance Company dancer Jeannette Chavez dances during the event during the Diez Y Seis Septiembre event announcement.  Photo by Scott Ball.

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Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. Rocío writes about immigration, the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and culinary scenes. She...