Fiestas Patrias Aurora celebrates heritage
By Kathy Cichon For Sun-Times Media September 13, 2012 11:00AM
Fiestas Patrias Aurora will take place on Sept. 14-16. | Courtesy of Fiestas Patrias
3rd Annual Fiestas Patrias Aurora
♦ Sept. 14-16
♦ North River Street Park, Aurora
♦ Free admission
♦ (630) 264-2422
Updated: September 13, 2012 12:13PM
Performances by international music acts will help transform downtown Aurora into a celebration of Latin American heritage when the 3rd Annual Fiestas Patrias Aurora music festival kicks off Sept. 14 for three days of music, food and fun.
“It’s the largest suburban-based Latin festival outside the city of Chicago,” said Jerry Campagna, interim executive director of the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Fiestas Patrias Aurora is expected to draw more than 12,000 people throughout its three days. The festival hosted by the AHCC, with help from the Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board, more than 100 volunteers and about two dozen sponsors including the Beacon-News.
The festival runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 14, from noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 15 and from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 16. It will be held at North River Street Park, located at River and New York streets in downtown Aurora. Admission to the fest is free.
In addition, a parade featuring a variety of community groups and organizations will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16 in the downtown area. One of the grand marshals of the parade is retiring Federal Judge Manuel Barbosa, who completes a 14-year term on the bench in Rockford this year.
New this year is a tribute to Latino veterans. The Illinois Veterans’ Affairs was invited to march in the parade with Latino veterans to honor retired and active Latinos for their service to the country, Campagna said. He said a lot of times the Latino community gets highlighted when something goes wrong.
“A lot of our people are doing a lot of great things,” he said. “And one of those is serving our country. We as a board wanted to make special effort to highlight that.”
After the parade, the festival will host a salute to Latino veterans will take place at noon Sept. 16 on the main stage in the park.
Music will be featured on the main stage all three days of Fiesta Patrias Aurora.
“If someone’s interested in Latin American music, particularly Mexican and Mexican heritage, there’s a wide variety of performances they will truly enjoy,” Campagna said.
The bill features a number of well-known acts in the Latino community, he said.
Performing Friday are Mariachi Monterrey, Creadoreaz Con Su Norteno Banda, el rebelde Chavez y su reventon Norteño and Los Ases del Tamborazo. Among those scheduled to perform Saturday are Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl, Mariachi Monterrey, Grupo Avante — Cumbia, Las Hechiceras de la Jungla, Groupo Noble la Nueva Sensacion de Mexico and Los Cadetes de linares.
Taking the stage Sunday are Mariachi Monterrey, Ballet Folkorico de Silvia Zepeda, Lazzer de Tierra Caliente, Calibre Norteno, Tamborazo El Penasco de Zacatecas and Groupo Ladron.
“We have a lot of talent coming in,” Campagna said. Music genres represented include banda, mariachi, cumbia, tejano, norteno, rock and more.
Throughout the three day festival, visitors can also enjoy food from more than 10 restaurants, attend the carnival and visit booths from a variety of organizations.
The Fiestas Patrias Aurora celebration coincides with the start Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 16. Throughout the month, many Latin American countries celebrate their independence days, including Mexico on Sept. 16. Fiestas Patrias Aurora is held in September to celebrate the heritage of area Hispanics.
“It’s really talking about the melding of our heritages,” Campagna said. “It’s the blending of two cultures. It’s two flags that are waving — one being the United States, and the other our country of origin.”