September 6, 2002

Mexican Independence Day Celebration at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park September 14

On Saturday, September 14, from 12 Noon to 4 p.m., Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (SHP) will uniquely celebrate Fiestas Patrias - Mexican Independence Day. Old Town San Diego SHP is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street in San Diego.

Old Town San Diego’s Fiestas Patrias is the only family oriented celebration with an historic theme in San Diego. The early Mexican or Californio culture will be honored this day through entertainment, games, crafts, and living history demonstrations.

This FREE celebration will feature dancing, music, and rope tricks, and storytelling authentic to the early Mexican era of San Diego (1821-46), on the main stage. Old Town descendant and actor Abel Silvas will share the story of his ancestors’ reaction to Mexican Independence in San Diego as well as other family stories. Trick Roper Tony Muñoz will amaze the crowd with his roping skills. The dance troupe Yesteryear’s Dancers will bring the celebration to a close with their California dances accompanied by Los Californios music group.

The Hispanic American Military History Preservation Society with their period Mexican uniforms will have an encampment in the plaza. Seeley Stables arena will be converted to El Rincón de Vaqueros with Californios on horseback and branding in the blacksmith shop.

Events also include a grito contest, recalling the historic cry for independence in Mexico on September 16, 1810, and a pepper-eating contest on the main stage. Visitors can also enjoy games, such as the Carrera del Gallo and water relays. Trick roper Tony Muñoz will have roping lessons in the games area of the plaza. A favorite activity is the cascarones decorating station, where participants can make and take home their own decorated blown-out egg filled with birdseed. Historically, a person would break a cascaron on someone’s head at parties to demonstrate their affection.

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