As a cultural melting pot, the Arizona experience is heavily influenced by our deep-rooted Hispanic heritage and culture. From incredible food and rich history to inspirational music and brilliant art, Arizona is truly an epicenter for embracing and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
“As a fourth-generation Arizonan whose great-grandparents migrated to Arizona from Mexico during our territorial days, I share my story with so many other Arizonans,” says Lisa Urias, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Hispanic Heritage Month in Arizona is a great opportunity for us to both celebrate our own families and share our amazing history, culture and traditions with others.”
The Pima County Board of Supervisors also proclaimed September as Hispanic Heritage Month, inviting county residents and all Arizonans to head to Southern Arizona to “celebrate Hispanic heritage and recognize the extraordinary impacts of Hispanic peoples in our communities, economy, institutions and culture.” Per Arizona Office of Tourism, here are a few highlights of events and celebrations going on across the state.
Sept. 15: El Grito Phoenix
The El Grito Festival in Downtown Phoenix celebrates Mexican Independence Day by allowing attendees to immerse themselves into the rich culture, delicious cuisine, and captivating entertainment of Mexico. The event offers an exquisite array of authentic Mexican cuisine that will transport taste buds directly to Mexico. Live entertainment includes mariachi music, enchanting performances by Ballet Folkloric and the exhilarating thrill of Lucha Libre.
For more information: elgritophoenix.com.
Sept. 15 and Sept. 16: Fiestas Patrias
Fiestas Patrias offers two days of celebration with live music and entertainment plus delicious dining and beverage specials at Casino Arizona. Traditional entertainment includes folkloric dancers, Mariachi Azteca de Oro, live Latin music and a special performance by Savor: Santana Tribute Band. Authentic Mexican food specials will also be available all day.
For more information: www.casinoarizona.com/promotions/fiestas-patrias/.
Sept. 15 to Sept. 18: Desert Rider Art Exhibit
The Desert Rider exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum explores the imaginative interpretations of automotive and skateboarding subcultures through diverse works by local Arizona and regional artists, focusing almost exclusively on Latinx and Indigenous perspectives that have defined the identity of the Southwest. The exhibition is inspired by modes of transportation that invite both reflection and introspection.
For more information: phxart.org/exhibition/desert-rider/.
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15: ¡Viva Tucson!
Tucson and Pima County
Visit Tucson and Pima County will truly embody the spirit of ¡Mi Casa es tu Casa! by inviting all Arizonans and visitors in for a full month’s celebration of Tucson’s amazing history and culture in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Festivities begin on Sept. 15 with the lighting of the Pima County Historic Courthouse Dome in red and green, and a Mexican fiesta at the Tucson Convention Center followed by a concert hosted by the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson at the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall. Additional events include concerts, art exhibitions, markets and an internationally recognized food scene. This month-long celebration pays homage to Tucson’s rich Hispanic heritage, showcasing the essence of this welcoming city and the people who make it an outstanding place to live, work and play.
For more information: www.visittucson.org/viva.
Sept. 17: Mariachi Herencia de Mexico
The Latin Grammy-nominated Mariachi Herencia de Mexico will perform a compilation of mariachi classics and tributes to Latin music legends from its latest album series titled “Esencia,” a tribute to the golden age of Mexican music at the Mesa Arts Center. Comprised of female and male musicians, the group performs stunning arrangements that highlight its powerful vocals and exquisite harmonies.
For more information: www.mesaartscenter.com/mariachiherenciademexico.
Sept. 23: Rockin’ Taco Street Fest
A food, music and cultural celebration, Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will feature creative tacos from local restaurants and food trucks in Downtown Chandler’s A.J. Chandler Park. Live entertainment includes Luche Libre wrestling, hot chili pepper- and taco-eating competitions, mariachi, a mechanical taco ride and a little amigos play area.
For more information: forty8live.com/rockintacoaz.
Oct. 1: 23rd Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival
The Chandler tradition returns. Experience the rich cultural history of Mexico through vibrant music and dance at the 23rd Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival, presented in partnership with C.A.L.L.E. de Arizona and Maestra Vanessa Ramirez, at Chandler Center for the Arts. The annual event features Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos and 16-member Mariachi Estrella de Mexico, along with a dazzling array of Folklorico dancers from Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli-AZ. Visitors are also immersed into Mexican culture with art vendors in the lobby and a special exhibition in the CCA Gallery.
For more information: www.chandlercenter.org.
Oct. 6 to Oct. 15: DTPHX Lotería
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, DTPHX Lotería returns to Downtown Phoenix. The community-wide activation–which is similar to American Bingo–incorporates a variety of area businesses. Lotería uses 54 characters and symbols of Mexican culture on a “tabla” with a corresponding deck of cards. To win, a player must get four symbols, in any pattern in a row, encouraging participants to visit those businesses in order to check off symbols on their tabla. To play, participants pick up a tabla at one of the participating businesses or from a DTPHX Ambassador; once players find the card that corresponds with the business, they can go inside and get a sticker. Winners will receive prizes ranging from Lotería-branded pins to a custom DTPHX Lotería game that can be played at home.
For more information: dtphx.org/loteria.
Oct. 15: Aida Cuevas
Aida Cuevas will be joined by the renowned Mariachi Aztlán, along with other special guests to present “45th Anniversary / Yo Creo Que Es Tiempo,” an unforgettable and emotional concert celebrating her long-lasting career as the “Queen of Mariachi” at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. She has created one of the most important careers in traditional Mexican music, winning a Grammy and Latin Grammy alongside 11 additional Grammy nominations in the Best Mariachi/Ranchero Album category.
For more information: scottsdaleperformingarts.org/event/aida-cuevas/.