Hispanic Heritage Month begins Thursday. That’s how they celebrate in Utah

A dancer from Weber State University’s Ballet Folklorico dances during the Dia de los Muertos en Ogden Festival November 5, 2021. The festival is one of many events held throughout Utah in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. (Sam Crump)

Estimated reading time: 9-10 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s plenty to do in Utah during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Thursday through October 15.

The month has been observed nationally since 1988, when activists successfully petitioned President Ronald Reagan to expand Hispanic Heritage Week, which had been recognized since 1968. Governor Spencer Cox last year signed a proclamation recognizing it in Utah.

“The history of Utah cannot be discussed without acknowledging the history of the region’s Hispanic and Latino populations,” Cox said in the proclamation. “Since 2010, the population of the Hispanic community has grown 38%, well above the national average.”

According to the 2020 census, 15% of Utah’s population is Hispanic or Latino. That’s about half a million people.

The month begins on September 15 because it is the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries. For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit hispanicheritagemonth.gov or contact the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs.


Celebration of the 212th anniversary of Mexico’s independence, Wednesday

The Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake is hosting a celebration to mark the 212th anniversary of Mexican independence. The free celebration will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City. The event features food trucks and live entertainment, including folklorico dancing and mariachi bands.

El Grito de Independencia: Celebration of Mexican Independence, Thursday

Mexican Consul Jose Vicente Borjon will hear the grito, or shout of “Viva Mexico!” (“Long live Mexico!”) and guests can join in by shouting “viva!” The free event also features live dance and music, Mexican food and drink, and resource booths. It takes place from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Centro Civico Mexicano in Salt Lake City. More information can be found here.

Vineyard Latino Festival, Saturday

Utah Mamá Latina and Mama Connect are hosting the Vineyard Latino Festival on Saturday from 2pm to 10pm. Held in Vineyard Grove Park, the festival includes live music, folkloric performances by local and international groups, traditional crafts, local vendors and Latin American cuisine.

“It will be a great day to recognize and celebrate the diversity of Hispanic heritage in the state of Utah,” organizers said on Facebook. “Our goal with this event is to bring the community together as we mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month and show why our culture and traditions make us all who we are.”

Quinoa Harvest and Andean Festival in Panguitch, Saturday

Through expert talks and hands-on harvesting, the public can learn more about quinoa—a modern-day “superfood” with deep roots in Andean culture. Other free events throughout the day include a llama walk, a film at the Panguitch Gem Theatre, llama rides for children, and demonstrations and instruction on how to use guaraca, a type of Andean slingshot.

The celebrations will take place at Panguitch Social Hall on Saturday. However, the main event is a ticketed dinner show from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Dinner includes a buffet of traditional Peruvian fare such as lomo saltado (a roast beef served with rice and fries) and chicha morada (a drink made with purple corn, fruits, and spices). During dinner, live traditional Andean music is performed by Los Hermanos de Los Andes.

The proceeds from the dinner go to the non-profit project Pachyonychia Congenita, which helps patients with the rare genetic skin disease. More information can be found here.

Gran Latino Festival in Cache Valley, Saturday

Cache Valley’s second annual Gran Latino Festival is held on Center Street in Logan. Participants can enjoy a flag parade, Latin American food, live music and performances from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m

Celebración Sinfónica: Latin Fire, September 20

This concert is a celebration of Latin American orchestral music, featuring Costa Rican trumpeter Jose Sibaja and Mexican soprano Mónica Ábrego. Sibaja has played with Latin stars like Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz; while Ábrego has performed around the world with a diverse repertoire that includes opera, folk and pop.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Maurice Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Before the show, there will be a mass at 5:30 p.m. in the square of Abravanel Hall. Tickets and more information available here.

BYU Annual Fernando R. Gomez Lecture on Latinos, Sept. 22

Jennifer Ortiz, director of the Utah Division of State History, will deliver Brigham Young University’s annual Fernando R. Gomez Lecture on Latinos. Ortiz will present an interactive session on public history and how Latinos can share their stories.

The lecture series honors Fernando R. Gomez, director of the Museum of Mexican Mormon History in Provo. Gomez is considered the leading public historian on Mexican Mormon history and has an extensive collection of artifacts and historical accounts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico and the Southwest.

The lecture will take place on Thursday, September 22 at 1:45 p.m. at the Harold B. Lee Library. It will also be streamed live on YouTube and Facebook.

Silicon Slopes Latinos Encuentro, September 22nd

The Silicon Slopes Latino Chapter hosts an encuentro to bring together Latin American leaders in the technology and innovation community. The free event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City. The food will be provided by the MONARCA restaurant. More information and registration is available here.

Festival Latino de Payson, September 24th

Payson City is hosting its Festival Latino on Saturday, September 24 at 12pm at the Peteetneet Amphitheater. The free event features a variety of artists, as well as food trucks and booths from various Latin American countries.

Bombazo Community, Salt Lake City, September 25

Utah’s only Puerto Rican bomba group, Bomba Marile, is hosting a free community event Sunday, September 25 at the University of Utah’s Black Cultural Center.

Bomba is a traditional style of music and dance in Puerto Rico that has evolved into a form of community expression. It is usually played in a community environment. The public can try their hand at playing, dancing and singing bomba during the event.

Attendees are asked to bring food and soft drinks to share, as well as a chair or blanket as the event is outdoors. Free parking is available behind the Black Cultural Center.

Jarabe Mexicano: Music Beyond Boundaries, Ogden, September 28

Quintet Jarabe Mexicano combines Mexican folk music, rock, Tex-Mex and reggae cumbia into a musical treat. The group performs at the Ogden Amphitheater on Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and more information are available on the amphitheater’s website.

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Decorating Family Workshop, Salt Lake City, September 29th

Families can learn how to decorate sugar skulls from Mexican artist Noemi Balcazar-Hernandez. Sugar skulls, which have become almost synonymous with the Day of the Dead, are far more than just a decoration. The skulls have roots in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and represent a deceased loved one.

The workshop will be held on Thursday, September 29 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Granite Park Junior High in Salt Lake City.

sugar skull! A Dia de Muertos Musical Adventure, Salt Lake City, Oct. 1

In this bilingual, bicultural musical, 12-year-old Vita Flores embarks on a magical journey to unravel the true meaning of Dia de Muertos. The show also features regional music and dance from Mexico. The musical starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 1st. Tickets are available from Utah Presents.

Day of the Dead in Ogden, October 8th

This free event has it all: music performances, vendors, face painting tutorials, sugar skull decorations, an art and music presentation for students, and more. The band Suenatron, which mixes modern and traditional Mexican music, will also perform.

Community members can submit photos and videos of deceased friends and family members who will be honored at the altar of the event. Submissions are due by September 30th.

The event will be held at Ben Lomond High School on Saturday, October 8 from 12pm to 10pm. More information can be found here. Proceeds from the event and all other community donations will be used to provide scholarships to Latino students, particularly DACA recipients and first-generation students, in the Ogden and Weber County area.

Ogden Hispanic Festival, October 15

Ogden’s sixth annual Hispanic Festival will highlight the culture, history, education, music, dance and food of the Latino community. The free event will be held at Ogden Union Station on Thursday, October 15 from 2pm to 7pm. This year’s theme is “Civic Engagement and Culture, the Path to Education and Success”.

“Our goal is to bring Ogden and the surrounding community together to celebrate diverse Latino culture and provide a forum where resources from organizations and businesses that value, embrace and celebrate diversity connect with the Latino community can,” said Latinos United Promoting Education and Civic Engagement, the organizer of the event.

Don’t see an event? Use this form to send us details of Hispanic Heritage Month events.

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Sydnee Gonzalez is a multicultural reporter for KSL.com, covering the diversity of people and communities in Utah. Se habla espanol. You can find Sydnee at @sydnee_gonzalez on Twitter.

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