Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fiesta de Independencia Foundation and Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee host invited guests at the Texas Capitol.

Invited City, County, State and Community leaders join Mexican officials to enjoy this historic occasion.
An afternoon reception in the Texas Capitol building was hosted by The Consul General of México, The Fiesta de Independencia Foundation, The Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee, Univisión and The Mexican American Legislative Caucus to honor those who helped make this event possible.

On a historic Sunday evening, September 15, 2013, The Texas State Capitol hosted 10,000 guests at Austin's annual Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia celebration.

The Honorable Rosalba Ojeda, Consul General of Mexico in Austin along side her husband, Francisco, performes the traditional "Grito de Independencia" ceremony.

Rosalba Ojeda, Consul General of Mexico in Austin waves the Mexican flag while the bell tolls in the recreation of Hidalgo's "Grito de Independencia".

Members of Mexican American Legislative Caucus, Texas' members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the City of Austin, Travis County and the Consul General of Mexico all came together to honor the businesses, organizations and individuals whose generous support have made the Foundation's work and scholarship programs so successful.

Gloria Mata Pennington, Chair, Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee, and Gus Garcia, Founder, Fiesta de Independencia Foundation.
A message from Gloria Mata Pennington can be found at the bottom of this blog post.

Proudly representing both The City and The County: Gloria Mata Pennington, Austin Parks & Recreation Department, with Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza, District Clerk, Travis County.

Elliott Naishtat, Texas State Representative; Gus Garcia, Founder, The Fiesta de Independencia Foundation; The Honorable Rosalba Ojeda, Mexican Consul General in Austin; Edward Rodriguez, Vice Chair, Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and Lloyd Doggett, Member U.S. Congress from Texas, representing areas of Austin to San Antonio. 

Lloyd Doggett, Member U.S. Congress, addresses guests at the Foundation's reception at the State Capitol just before the festivities.

Elliott Naishtat, State Representative, explains to guests how he became an honorary member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

This year's Poster
Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee's 2013 winning poster design by local artist Paul del Bosque.
All 2013 event sponsors were given a framed poster.

Texas' own Tejano culture is unique and distinctive. 100% Texan with a part of its soul coming from Norteño music and dance from Mexico. 
The Sponsor's recognition reception entertainment was graciously provided by The South Texas College Band and Folkloric Dancers, from McAllen Texas.

Norteño - Tejano Music with its totally unique dance style, exhibits the fusion of the many cultures that came together in South Texas during the late 19th Century. Arguably, like Tex-Mex cuisine, this music is Mexican, yet clearly has strong Central European influences.

Texas and Mexico share a long history.

The cornice on the exterior of the Texas Capitol, as well the inlaid floor in its rotunda, display the "Six Flags" of Texas' history. Mexico is the third from the left.

Texas' earliest heroes
Lorenzo de Zavala, Juan Seguin and Gergorio Esparza, (click on names for their biographies) were all Mexicans. Numerous towns and schools throughout Texas have their names and attest to their fame and contribution to the State's achievements.

A message from Gloria Mata PenningtonChairFiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee.
State Representative Ed Rodriguez, Vice Chair The Mexican American Legislative Caucus with Gloria Mata Pennington, Chair, Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee.

The following is a history of the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation and the "Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia" celebration in Austin, Texas.

The Fiesta de Independencia Foundation and Committee is proud that a humble community celebration they gave birth to in 1992, grew over the years and became so very successful
This year, thanks to the added support and resources of Univision and the State's Mexican American Legislative Caucus, our "Fiesta de el Grito" was taken to a new "historic level".

In or about 1992, the Mexican Consulate approached the City of Austin with a proposal to partner in sponsoring an annual Diez y Seis celebration. The Consulate arranged for entertainers from Mexico to come for the  event and the City of Austin provided in kind support for the logistics. The highlight then, as it is now, is the re-enactment of "El Grito" by the Consul General of Mexico.

The first two events were held in downtown Austin. The Consulate was located across the street from the Driskill Hotel on Brazos and the event was held in that street. Brazos was blocked off at 7th and 6th streets and an outdoor stage was erected. The first year approximately 400 persons attended the event. By the second year, the crowds grew and the need for a larger location was indicated as well as the need for fund raising and a planning committee.

In 1994, then Council Member Gus Garcia, recruited Roberto Chapa and Rosie Mendoza to work with him. Together they established the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation to be the fund raising arm and money depository for the event, and the Fiesta de el Grito de Independencia Committee to be responsible for planning and along with the City of Austin, to implement the event. The first Chair of the Committee was Lala Niemeyer, who served for two years. In 1996, Council Member Garcia appointed Gloria Mata Pennington as Chair, a position in which she continues to serve, seventeen years later.

Each year, an artist was selected to create the art for an event poster. In the early years, the works of famous artists were used with permission granted through requests from Mexic-Arte Museum. Later, it was decided to use local artists and a "call for artist" system was established and a sub-committee was created to select the art to be used.

Over the years, the Fiesta has been held at various locations. The event was held on Auditorium Shores, at Plaza Saltillo and Waterloo Park.  Then, in 2007 the Fiesta Committee was informed that Waterloo Park would no longer be available and  the event was relocated to the newly opened Mexican American Cultural Center. The first event there was a combined celebration, of the grand opening and dedication of the center along with the Fiesta de el Grito. At the 2008 Fiesta, attendance exploded to approximately 2,000 persons and everyone knew the perfect match of event and venue had been made.

The annual Fiesta del Grito de Independencia, now known as the City of Austin's official "Diez y Seis de Septiembre" has become an Austin tradition. In addition to the Fiesta de Independencia Foundation, the City of Austin and the Mexican Consulate, the beautiful celebration continues to be made possible through local sponsorships from corporations and individuals. A big thank you to all who help make this important event a reality to be enjoyed free of charge by all the citizens of Austin.

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