SPACE Celebrates Latino Culture In Mendocino County

Sep 19, 2018

 On Sept 16th 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell in the town of Dolores, Mexico and delivered a speech known as El Grito, or the cry for independence. Hidalgo is considered the father of his country and the event is reenacted annually on the eve of independence day in Mexico,. This year the celebration came to SPACE, the school of performing arts and cultural education in Ukiah. Carlos Jacinto rang the bell and delivered the Grito. “This is the first time there's been a major celebration for Latinos in this county in almost two years," Says Ignacio Ayala, SPACE's latino program director. The block in front of the theater was closed to traffic for a street fair with food vendors, dancing and karaoke. Many people dressed in traditional mexican clothes, and there were lots of children running around. Ignacio says outdoor performance is an important part of mexian culture. The evening also saw the return of Noche de Estrellas, or night of the stars, a variety show celebrating latino culture. the event is cherished by the latino community as there aren't many opportunities for Latinos to celebrate their culture.       The show featured twenty acts with performers ranging from seven  to seventy-eight years old. There were skits featuring comedic misunderstandings of the Spanish language, and lots of singing.  The performers displayed a variety of traditional Mexican clothing, there were intricately embroidered charro suits, wide-brimmed somberero hats, and, a black velvet dress with a huge skirt encrusted with multicolored rhinestones. When I spoke to people about the event one topic came up again and again, Family.    Two of Maria Cejas daughters sang in the show, for her the show is a rare opportunity to teach them about their heritage. The event strives to bridge the generation gap in the latino community, but its also important for SPACE. Many latino parents don't know what SPACE does, this is an opportunity for them to see. The success of this sold-out event means the latino community is likely to have more opportunities to show off their culture and their talent, for years to come.