It’s that time of the year to recognize and celebrate what people of Spanish, Caribbean, Mexican, Central and South American descent have contributed to American society.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which grew out of the National Hispanic Heritage Week that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law in 1968, honors the culture and achievements of Hispanic and Latino Americans — artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science.
Starting in mid-September — because the independence days of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile fall mid-month — the events last until Oct. 15.
Here’s where to go this year:
Mexican Independence Day Festival
This free festival is considered the largest event celebrating Mexican independence, culture and heritage in the Delaware Valley and is recognized by the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. as the largest one-day cultural festival held at Penn’s Landing. The more-than-20-year-old festival, which tends to attract at least 15,000 attendees, offers traditional Mexican artisan crafts; folk, mariachi and popular music performances; kids’ activities; and lots of food by local Philly vendors. A fireworks show starts at 8 p.m. to close the event. Starting at 2 p.m., Sept. 15, Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.
Wilmington Hispanic Festival
The 43rd annual parade, which usually attracts 3,000 attendees on Fourth Street and Bancroft Parkway, has a floats competition, custom car exhibitions, marching bands, a Zumba showcase and a salsa rueda performance. The festival will host Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican food vendors, a beer garden and a kids zone, in addition to artistic performances from local and award-winning artists. Parade from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Festival from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 15, Daniel S. Frawley Stadium.
Welcome, Neighbors / Bienvenidos vecinos
Come for food, music, and conversation to celebrate the launch of a new bilingual website: Neighbors/Vecinos: Exploring Philadelphia’s history through 200 years of Puerto Rican migration. You will learn about the two years of work in which a group of residents explored the archives of Taller Puertorriqueño and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to uncover stories of resilience and adaptation among Philly’s Puerto Rican community. Free bus transportation will be provided from Taller Puertorriqueño to the Historical Society, leaving Taller at 6 p.m. with previous registration. 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 18, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust St. To register for the bus or the free event, call Taller at 215-426-3311 or go online.
Atlantic City Latino Festival
The return of this music festival will feature live Latin music, including salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia, reggaetón, mariachi, and bomba, as well as arts and crafts activities for both adults and children, a variety of Latin American food vendors, and free health and wellness screenings. The free festival is a past recipient of the New Jersey’s Governor’s Multicultural Tourism Award. Noon to 8 p.m., Sept. 22, Bader Field.
Yellow Butterflies in Fall
Participate in a free discussion as academics analyze Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez’s work from different perspectives, including how his experience in Mexico helped frame his writing. Panel members will include Soledad Plumbey of La Salle, Mariangelí Castro García of Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, and Tomás Hidalgo Nava of Villanova. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 26, Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N. Fifth St.
Puerto Rican Day Parade
Expect three hours of traditional Latino Caribbean music, poetry, and dance, with about 1,500 marchers and more than 5,000 attendees. This year, the parade’s theme is “The Taíno Warrior Within," acknowledging the connection Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Jamaicans have to the Taínos, the natives of the Antilles. Noon to 3 p.m., Sept. 29, Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Latin American Book Fair
Twenty-five writers from Venezuela, Colombia, Perú, Spain, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the U.S. will participate in the first Latin American book fair in Philadelphia, with poetry, fiction, and history books available for children and adults. There will be two stages — one for puppet performances and Spanish bilingual storytelling, and another for adult theater and dance performances. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Oct. 4, City Hall’s Rotunda.
Alô Brasil’s 20th Anniversary Show
Alô Brasil is known as one of the premiere Brazilian bands in the mid-Atlantic. The band’s repertoire is a contemporary blend of Afro-Brazilian traditional and pop sounds, mixed with the musical roots of its hometown Philadelphia. Tickets online at World Cafe Live. 8 p.m., Oct. 5, World Cafe Live.
Javier Ávila: The Trouble with My Name
Pennsylvania’s Professor of the Year, educator and artist Javier Ávila brings his high-energy show to Philadelphia. The performance blends comedy and poetry to shed light on the American Latino experience. Tickets available online at www.esperanza.us/arts-center/. 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Oct. 12, Esperanza Arts Center, 4261 N. Fifth St.