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Civic Center to honor Mexican independence with arts and culture event

Fiestas Patrias celebration to take place Sept. 17

Incorporating community feedback following last year’s first-time event, the City of Yuma invites you to this year’s celebration of Mexican independence.

The Fiestas Patrias street fair kicks off at 5 p.m. Sept. 17 with a street fair in the parking areas of the Yuma Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive. Following that, this year’s ceremonies and entertainment will be located inside the Yuma Civic Center to accommodate a performance stage, dance floor and artistic and cultural displays from San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., local schools and surrounding communities.

While the venue and date have changed, the festival remains a free community event.

By hosting the free community event the day after Mexico’s official Independence Day, the community can celebrate the holiday on a weekend. The transition from the outdoor stadium to the comfort of the air-conditioned Civic Center will allow local schools, art companies, international museum displays and other cultural participants the opportunity to create culturally immersive installations in a comfortable environment.

“I’m glad we are returning the event back to what it’s supposed to be, about the culture and history of Mexico,” said Chris Williams, Yuma Civic Center Program Manager. “This event will have its own identity and be different than other festivals we host at our complex.

The outdoor street fair will feature 30 to 40 food, business and craft vendors with activities for all ages. Then, inside the Yuma Civic Center, will display regional and school-based artwork, and a cultural craft station sponsored by the Yuma County Library. Main stage entertainment will include mariachi performers, live bands, a rondalla, and bailes folclóricos – traditionalMexican folkloric dances that date back hundreds of years. Yuma’s Mexican Consul Eusebio Romero will initiate the traditional reading of “El Grito de Dolores,” which literally translates to the cry of Dolores, and is historically considered the act with which Mexican War of Independence began.

“We are very happy to continue this partnership with the City of Yuma. This is a great opportunity for the Mexican community to get close to their traditions and enjoy part of their cultural heritage in this event, which means a lot to all Mexicans,” said Paulina Nava, who works with Mexico’s Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Mexicans Abroad in Yuma.

“Mexico is steeped in culture, and our goal is to showcase that diversity and beauty of our neighboring country, to which we have many binational ties, while creating a comfortable and family-friendly celebratory environment,” said JulieAnna Carsen, festival coordinator.

Fiestas Patrias is a Spanish phrase meaning “patriotic holidays” or “national holidays,” and refers to the celebration of the independence of Mexico. Fiestas are often celebrated in U.S. southwest regions to offer the binational and bicultural community an opportunity to enjoy an event honoring heritage and culture.

In partnership with the Consulate of Mexico in Yuma, this will be the second year the City of Yuma has hosted a citywide event for Mexico’s Independence Day. The 2015 inaugural event was a cooperative venture between the Consulate and City of Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls’ United for Yuma campaign, which focuses on building relationships and sustaining efforts to foster bilateral relations among local governments on both sides of the border.

For festival information, please call Yuma Civic Center Events Specialist JulieAnna Carsen at (928) 373-5043 or email: