Mariachi Festival Livens Up National City Waterfront

March 13, 2017

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Over 20,000 people celebrated the fifth Annual International Mariachi Festival at Pepper Park in National City, on Sunday, March 12.

Festival attendees were able to enjoy over 75 stands of art and food, mariachi music, live entertainment, and different activities for people of all ages including a children’s zone and a beer garden. The children’s activities included a large inflatable rock climbing wall, face painting, and arts and crafts. And adults over 21 years old were able to enjoy the festival view from a beverage garden top deck.

As part of the live entertainment, groups of mariachi from different schools in the region participated in a competition at the festival. A total of 15 mariachi groups participated, under two different categories: one category was for junior high students and the other for high school students. The winner group of each category received a trophy, $500 in prize money, and the chance to perform at a Padres baseball game at Petco Park.

“This festival is to create awareness, support and pride about the Mexican culture, and the traditional Mexican music,” said Jacqueline Reynoso, President and CEO of the National City Chamber of Commerce to La Prensa San Diego. “This festival also gives support to young people that study mariachi. These students receive scholarships for a two-day mariachi workshop.”

More than 300 students participated on the two-day workshops that were held at the University of San Diego on Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11. The renowned University of Texas Pan American Mariachi Aztlan, Rigoberto Alfaro, Sergio Caratachea, and Javier Rodriguez led the instruction. The workshop participation grows each year. The first year of mariachi workshops, there were 80 students.

The festival also featured professional mariachi bands including Javier Rodriguez and Mariachi Los Reyes, Mariachi de Sol America Guadalajara, and Mariachi Aztlan.

“This event it’s a great way to celebrate one of our areas of diversity, and culture here in National City,” said National City Mayor Ron Morrison. “People that come here enjoy dancing and listening to music. And we want to celebrate all of our distinctive cultures in the city.”

The National City Chamber of Commerce and other organizations like the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation, and the Port of San Diego organized this event.

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