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.
A message from Gloria Mata Pennington can be found at the bottom of this blog post.
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.
Texas and Mexico share a long history.
Texas' earliest heroes
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".
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.