Photo depicting the Herencias Mexicanas dancing in traditional wear with colorful ruffled skirts.

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month at These Events

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM), a celebration of Latin American people, histories, and cultures. The monthlong observance starts in the middle of the month to commemorate the Sept. 15 anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Independence days for Mexico and Chile are Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. 

Seattle and surrounding areas have a number of festivals, author events, live entertainment, and other observances to honor our diverse Latine communities. From SeaMar’s Fiestas Patrias celebrations to the Seattle Latino Film Festival to El Centro de la Raza’s 50th Anniversary, there are many ways to celebrate. 

Explore Latine music through a Spotify playlist curated by the Seattle Theater Group, STG Selecciones Vol. 1, featuring artists from around the world as well as bands from the Pacific Northwest like Tres Leches, Mala Suerte, Acapulco Lips, Sávila, and Wild Wild Mexico. 

For a NHHM kids reading list, author events, and activities, check out the King County Library System’s recent South End Scoop, and the Seattle Public Library’s book list for young readers. 

Read on for a guide to local NHHM celebrations!

Ongoing Events

Chicano Art Not Yet at the Cheech

Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery
9414 Delridge Way SW

White Center’s Latinx and Chicano art gallery and community hub is currently hosting “Chicano Art Not Yet at the Cheech” from now to Sept. 25. After that, the gallery’s Dia de los Muertos art show will open Oct. 1. 

Mexam NW Festival

Sept. 10 to Oct. 15
Events take place throughout the Seattle area

Celebrating Mexican and Mexican American culture, this multi-venue festival has many events throughout Seattle and surrounding areas. Curated by the Mexican Consulate of Seattle, some events include a Oaxacan Biosphere exhibit (Sept. 23), B-Town Fiesta in Burien (Sept. 24), and Latin music concerts. See a full calendar of events at the Mexam NW Festival official website

NHHM Events in and Around Seattle

YMCA Community Conversations: Navigating HIspanic & Latinx Labels

Sept. 22, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

People of Latin American ancestry are anything but monolithic. Chicanix/a/o/e, Latinx/a/o/e, dreamer, Hispanic, are just some ways to describe certain people. This free online conversation by the YMCA explores the power, diversity — and limitations — of labels that describe Latine communities. Register to attend the free Zoom conversation at the official YMCA Community Conversations Eventbrite page.

B-Town Fiesta

Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
611 SW 152nd St., Burien

Celebrate Burien’s Latinx communities with this all-day fiesta in Town Square. There will be local vendors and food, a beer garden, kids activity area, and a lineup of performers like Saul Rincon, Grupo Folklórico Nuestras Raíces, and more. 

En Camino Fundraiser by Casa Latina

Sept. 24, starts at 6:30 p.m.
The Westin, 1900 5th Ave.
Tickets start at $150

Casa Latina, a nonprofit that advances the power and well-being of Latino immigrants, is having their fundraiser gala, a night of dinner, dancing, and speakers. RSVP or donate at their En Camino Gala website.

Banda MS

Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S
Tickets start at $59

A can’t-miss for banda, ranchera, and norteño music lovers, Mexican supergroup Banda MS makes a stop in Seattle on their #GraciasATi! tour. Get tickets at WaMu’s website.

Bomba Estereo

Sept. 27, 8 p.m. 
Paramount Theater, 911 Pine St.
Tickets start at $30

Check out Grammy-nominated Columbian band Bomba Estereo. Their “electro tropical” or “psychedelic cumbia” sound was recently featured in “Ojitos lindos” with Bad Bunny.

Author Voices With Jessica Hernandez

Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The King County Library System is hosting an online discussion with Indigenous environmental scientist Doctor Jessica Hernandez about her book Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science. The discussion will be moderated by poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna. Register to attend online.

Book Launch and Celebration of banana [ ]

Sept. 28, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave

Award-winning poet Paul Hlava Ceballos’ book banana [ ] traces the stories of Latin American migration, identity, and love through a found history of bananas. Ceballos will read from the book, along with conversation with other poets and writers. Garzón Latinx Street Food will be on site serving up fried plantains and corn.

Fiestas Patrias

Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Kirkland Urban Plaza

Presented by Sea Mar Community Health Centers in partnership with Seattle Center Festál, Fiestas Patrias celebrates the independence of Latin American countries. Though the festival at the Seattle Center happened on Sept. 17 and 18, Fiestas Patrias will have another event in Kirkland.

Seattle Latino Film Festival

Oct. 7 to 15
Venues throughout Seattle, including Ark Lodge Cinema and Beacon Cinema
Festival Pass for $120

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) hosts this Latino Film Festival at multiple cinemas and locations. Check out thriller La Mancha Negra at Beacon Cinema or It Runs In The Family about queer filmmaker Oscar Torres at the Ark Lodge. Head to the SIFF website for a full program and ticket information.

Centro de la Raza 50th Anniversary

Oct. 8, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center, 705 Pike St.
From $175

Celebrating 50 years of building the “beloved community,” Beacon Hill’s hub for Latino and diverse cultures will host their annual fundraising gala on Oct. 8. There will be a plated dinner, speakers, the presentation of Roberto Maestas Legacy Awards & Scholarships, and an online auction. The program will also be available virtually. Get tickets to the gala online.

Silvestre Dangond

Oct. 13, 8 p.m.
The Moore Theater, 1932 Second Ave.

A star of the Columbian music scene, Dangond made an impression with his new take on vallenato, a popular folk music form Columbia.

Mark Van Streefkerk is a South Seattle-based journalist, freelance writer, and the Emerald’s Arts, Culture, & Community editor. He often writes about restaurants, LGBTQ+ topics, and more. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter at @VanStreefkerk.

📸 Featured Image: Mexican folkloric dance group Herencias Mexicanas, performing at THING, a music and arts festival at Port Townsend in August. (Photo: Jim Bennett/Seattle Theater Group)

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