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Best Ways To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month In The South Bay

The annual National Hispanic Heritage Month is set to begin September 15, with celebrations across the nation recognizing Hispanic heritage and culture. One of the nation's largest National Hispanic Heritage festivals is located in the South Bay city of San Jose, as it hosts the 22nd annual Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival. Over 50,000 people are expected to attend this year's event to embrace Latin culture through theatre, film, visual arts, dance workshops and lively festivals featuring authentic Mexican music and cuisine. The following are five of the best ways to celebrate Mexican Heritage Month in the South Bay, all sponsored by the Mexican Heritage Foundation.

Centenario Posada Exhibition
San Jose Mexican Consulate
2125 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95131
(408) 213-2250

Dates: Sept. 13 through Dec. 30, 2013

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of famed illustrator José Guadalupe Posada. The Mexican Consulate of San Jose will host an exhibition of Posada's political satires and calaveras depicting the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. His images of costumed skeletons are now synonymous with Day of the Dead celebrations each year on November 1 and 2. The collection comes from the largest private collector of Posada's works, New World Prints, based in Vallejo. The Mexican Consulate of San Jose is located on Zanker Road, between Highways 101 and 880, near East Brokaw Road.

Related: Best Places to See Ballet in the South Bay


Kinky, Carla Morrison, La Santa Cecilia, Sistema Bomb
San Jose Civic Auditorium
135 W. San Carlos St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 792-4111

Date: Sept. 28, 2013

The Grammy-nominated quintet Kinky headlines a Latin alternative concert at the San Jose Civic as part of Hispanic Heritage Month in the South Bay. The band, originally from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, is well known for its recordings influenced by a blend of several music styles, including Latin, rock, techno and electronic. One of the band's most familiar hits is "We Are the Galaxy," the official anthem of the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team of the  MLS (Major League Soccer league). Also scheduled to appear are Latin Grammy Award-nominated artist from Baja California, Carla Morrison, Los Angeles-based La Santa Cecilia, a recent selection as best Latin Alternative Band of the Year, and Sistema Bomb, a music project that mixes traditional folk music from Veracruz - Son Jarocho - and Latin artists based in the U.S. and Mexico.

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Ireland Meets Mexico in a Musical Tribute to the San Patricio Brigade
San Pedro Square Market
87 N. San Pedro St.
San Jose, CA 95110

Date: Sept. 14, 2013

In observance of the 150th anniversary of the San Patricio Brigade, a group of San Jose and Bay Area-based Irish and Mexican-American bands will perform in a celebration of the military unit who fought during the Mexican-American War. From 1846-1848, a battalion of primarily European immigrants and U.S. Army deserters joined forces with the Mexican Army to battle the United States. Known as Saint Patrick's Battalion (Batallón de San Patricio), the military unit is regarded as heroes of the Catholic faith in Mexico. The following acts are scheduled to appear at this free event: the Irish rock bands O'Craven and Kavanaugh Brothers, and two bands specializing in Son Jarocho music, the Mexican-American band Cascabel and from Veracruz, Mexico, Grupo Mono Blanco.


Tribute to the Songbook of Romantic Mexico
SAP Center
525 W. Santa Clara
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 287-7070

Date: Sept. 7, 2013

One of the highlights of the San Jose Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival will be held at the SAP Center, formerly the HP Pavilion. The Tribute to the Songbook of Romantic Mexico will feature Mexico's foremost tenor Fernando de la Mora and one of America's best-known mariachi groups, Mariachi Sol de Mexico. Also appearing at this spectacular event are Silicon Valley's own soprano star, Sandra Rubalcava, Los Lupeños de San José, Mariachi Azteca and Symphony Silicon Valley. For more than 25 years, Fernando de la Mora has performed in opera houses all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Opera Bastille in Paris, Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Covent Garden in London. Southern California-based Mariachi Sol de Mexico is led by director José Hernandez, whose family has been performing mariachi music for more than 125 years.


¡VivaFest!/El Grito
Discovery Meadow
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 298-5437

Date: Sept. 15, 2013

A huge crowd is expected to attend ¡VivaFest!/El Grito, a free outdoor music and cultural festival at Discovery Meadow, next to the Children's Discovery Museum, in downtown San Jose. El Grito is a celebration where crowds of people yell "¡Viva!" in honor of the Mexican Independence from Spain during the 1800s. Carlos Ponce Martinez, Consul General of the San Jose Mexican Consulate, is a special guest of honor and will lead the crowd at 9 p.m. to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, which follows the next day. Prior to this lively event, a special Mariachi Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, just past Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market Street and West San Fernando Street.

Related: Guide to Bay Area's Film Festivals

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on

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