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Latino heritage celebrated at Fiestas Patrias in Anaheim

The ballet folklorico group Nuevo Amanecer takes the stage at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace.
The ballet folklorico group Nuevo Amanecer takes the stage during the Fiestas Patrias carnival held at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace on Saturday.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Anaheim’s Indoor Marketplace is Orange County’s largest indoor swap meet and one of the county’s most vibrant cultural hubs, but Giselle Lopez said it is still somewhat of a hidden gem.

“The Anaheim Marketplace has been around for about 30 years,” said Lopez, the venue’s marketing coordinator. “We have over 200 vendors. Some of the vendors have been here for over 20 years … even though we are right in the middle of Anaheim and a huge location, a lot of people don’t really know about us.”

The market features predominately Latino vendors and small businesses from the community ranging from food to clothing, retail, party supplies, jewelry and more.

Ana Callejas pours horchata for a customer during the Fiestas Patrias carnival at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace.
(Sarahi Apaez)

“We are known for being a taste of Mexico without leaving Orange County,” said Lopez. “You walk through the aisle here and you feel like you are walking through the callejones in Mexico.”

Besides the food and shopping, family-friendly fun is also offered with Mexican bingo and karaoke on Fridays and live entertainment at La Placita, featuring ballet folkloric groups, on Saturdays.

“Our marketing team also plans more than one event a month for our community, but they are always free events,” said Lopez. “Last month we planned a health fair in our parking lot, inviting health organizations from all over Orange County to provide health screenings and services for our community.”

Twice a year the market hosts a carnival, and on Sept. 8 through Sept. 11, the marketplace hosted Fiestas Patrias in celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day, Sept. 16.

“We always bring this event to the marketplace so our community can enjoy this carnival experience and also so people kind of familiarize themselves with where the Anaheim Marketplace is located. We bring the carnival with all these flashy lights to people can stop and go, ‘What’s that?’”

Fiestas Patrias carnivalgoers enjoy rides and games at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace on Saturday.
(Sarahi Apaez)

The event featured carnival rides, vendors, food trucks and glass art demos.

“We had a lot of vendors selling artisanal products and authentic cultural gifts like bracelets, shoes and handmade clothing,” said Lopez.

Local ballet folklorico dance groups, like Nuevo Amanecer, performed both Saturday and Sunday. Univision put on a live talent show for local artists on Saturday, with a prize of $1,000 and a chance to perform at a future carnival marking the channel’s 60th anniversary.

The ballet folklorico group Nuevo Amanecer performs on stage at the Fiestas Patrias carnival.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Headlining entertainment included El Flamante Acapulco, Furria de Arranque, Sonora Santanera de Oro and Tiranos del Norte.

“We also had one of our vendors offer a ceremonial dance and all of our attendees seemed to really welcome them, and it was very beautiful,” said Lopez.

Lopez said the cultural celebration gets to the heart of what the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace is all about.

“It is very important that we are proudly here after all these years, especially after COVID, because this place is a safe space for Latinos in Anaheim and all over Orange County where you come and you just feel at home,” said Lopez. “It is great that we can tie in everything by providing entertainment to our communities that makes them proud of who they are.”

Alma Martinez and daughter Carly Balmaceda dance along to live music during the Fiestas Patrias carnival.
(Sarahi Apaez)

The Anaheim Indoor Marketplace is open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed Tuesdays.

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