SPECIAL EVENTS : Fiesta Resistance Marks Freedom

Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition

On Sept. 16, 1810, the parish priest of a tiny village in what was then called New Spain issued a call for independence from Spanish rule, for the equality of races and for redistribution of land.

Today the call to arms issued by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day, the event that led in 1824 to the creation of the republic of Mexico, which at first included all of Central America’s Spanish colonies.

This weekend, Fiestas Patrias de Independencia will be marked in downtown Santa Ana with a three-day street fair that begins Friday. The independence of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Puerto Rico (and Chile, which marks its break from Spain Sept. 18) will be celebrated with a parade, carnival rides and games, live entertainment and food and drink booths.

The event is expected to attract between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors.


Elsewhere in the county, guitarist Ciro Hurtado and the group Huayucaltia will perform contemporary music from the Andes and other Latin American areas on Saturday at the San Juan Capistrano Regional Library.

Exhibits of Mexican art are also on display. At the Brea Civic & Cultural Center, a show called “Hand in Hand: Art and Artesania From Jalisco, Mexico,” explores the relationship between work by folk and contemporary artists in Jalisco.

Mexico’s proliferation of folk arts and crafts is something that sets it apart from its neighbor to the north, says the show’s curator, art historian Blair Paltridge. “Artwork is produced by every social class, by the Indians in the villages and the farmers,” Paltridge says. “That just doesn’t happen in the United States.”

The vast pool of folk arts draws upon a common set of images, some religious and even pre-Columbian, that contemporary artists often adapt as well, according to Paltridge.


Jalisco was chosen as the geographic base of the show because of Brea’s sister-city relationship with the Jaliscan city of Lagos de Moreno. One section of the gallery is devoted to watercolor renditions of the city. A third section of the show displays the work of Jaliscan painter and sculptor Carlos Terres, Brea’s artist-in-residence.

On exhibit at the Laguna Art Museum, meanwhile, is “El Taller de Grafica Popular: Mexican Workshop for Popular Graphic Art, 1937-1949.” The show features 18 prints from the workshop, founded in Mexico City in 1937 as a counterpart to the American Scene art movement in the United States. Workshop artists distributed printed flyers with political messages.

What: Fiestas Patrias de Independencia, a festival celebrating the independence of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador and Puerto Rico.

When: Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15, noon to 9 p.m. Bicycle race Saturday at 7:30 a.m.; parade Sunday at 1 p.m.


Where: Downtown Santa Ana, 4th and Main streets.

Wherewithal: Admission is free.

Where to Call: (714) 558-2791.

What: Guitarist Ciro Hurtado and the group Huayucaltia.


When: Saturday, Sept. 14, at 7 and 9 p.m.

Where: San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano.

Wherewithal: $2.

Where to Call: (714) 493-1752.


What: “Hand in Hand: Art and Artesania From Jalisco, Mexico.”

When: Through Oct. 26. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (Thursday to 8 p.m.).

Where: Brea Civic & Cultural Center, 1 Civic Center Circle.

Wherewithal: $1.


Where to Call: (714) 990-7730.

What: “El Taller de Grafica Popular: Mexican Workshop for Popular Graphic Art, 1937-1949.”

When: Through Nov. 3. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.


Wherewithal: Admission is $2 general, $1 for students and seniors.

Where to Call: (714) 494-6531.