Philadelphia's Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) promises to deliver more fun and more culture than ever before, thanks to annual favorites and new cultural treasures.
The anticipated Open Air Exhibition, a massive interactive public arts display by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, literally lights up the celebration along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, while on the Avenue of the Arts, The Philadelphia Orchestra brings West Side Story to the Kimmel Center. Penn's Landing's Mexican Independence Day Festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway always draw thousands of people eager to celebrate, and the Philadelphia Phillies' Latino Family Celebration combines sporting and ethnic pride.
Here's a look at Philadelphia's Hispanic Heritage Month happenings:
Festivals & Parades
Those looking to get an early start Hispanic Heritage Month need look no further than Taller Puertorriqueno's Feria del Barrio, one of the
largest celebrations of Latino art and culture in the city. The free music, dance and art extravaganza takes place on the sidewalks of the historic Centro de Oro neighborhood -- the center of Latino culture in Philadelphia. September 7. 5(th) Street between Lehigh & Cambria Avenues, (215) 426-3311, tallerpr.org
It's all Mexico, all day -- food, music, dancing and crafts -- during the annual Mexican Independence Day Festival at Penn's Landing. The family-friendly fiesta includes performances by a mariachi band and a dance troupe, as well as local and national food and drink vendors, including Adobe Cafe, La Veracruzana and Corona. September 16. Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Market Street, (215) 928-8801, delawareriverevents.com
More than 1,500 musicians, performers, local celebrities and youth groups take to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the city's largest and oldest outdoor event celebrating Latino and Puerto Rican heritage. Attendees admire passing floats, enjoy festive dances and listen to upbeat music. September 30. (215) 627-3100, elconcilio.net
Art & Culture Celebrations
It's fitting that Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Open Air Exhibition makes its world premiere in Philadelphia, a city that displays public art on sidewalks, in parks, on walls and now, in the air. Using a free custom-made mobile app, participants' voices and GPS positions activate 24 high-powered searchlights along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to create three-dimensional light formations in the night sky. The nighttime exhibition, part of the both the Philadelphia Live Arts & Philly Fringe festival and DesignPhiladelphia, will be visible from up to 10 miles away. September 20-October 14, 8:00-11:00 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 21(st) & 24(th) Streets, (215) 690-4065, associationforpublicart.org/open-air
On the last Friday of every month, the Talentos Dance Studio in Old Kensington is transformed into Cafe Encuentros and hosts Tertulias, lectures and discussions about cultural topics. Afterwards, audience members take the mic and share their music, poetry or dance skills. The Tertulias theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is "Mexico High Lights." September 28. 1417 N. 2(nd) Street, (215) 425-1390, raicesculturales.org
The Jets and the Sharks look bigger -- and sound better -- than ever. To mark the 50(th) anniversary of the Academy Award-winning movie, The Philadelphia Orchestra tackles Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story score, while the remastered film plays in high-definition on the big screen -- with dialogue and vocals intact. October 5-7. 300 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Taller Puertorriqueno's free concert and art series Cafe Under the Stars ends its season with double the culture, as award-winning dancer and Temple University professor Merian Soto presents two of her works. Soto will present her new multi-dimensional work We Are and 2009's Postcards from the Woods. October 12. 2600 N. 5(th) Street, (215) 426-3311, tallerpr.org
Words and pictures share the spotlight during Luz, Palabra y Vida, a photography exhibition and book presentation at The Bourse at Independence Mall. The show, themed "Poetry and Photography in Dialogue," features work from writer Maria Luisa Ortega Hernandez and photographer Obed Arango Hisijara. October 15-November 30. 111 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 625-0300, bourse-pa.com
Havin' A Ball
The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in true sporting style during the 11(th) Annual Goya Latino Family Celebration at Citizens Bank Park. The game hits a homerun with special food and entertainment. Bonus: Phils fans can get a discount on tickets by using the online promotion code SALSA. September 25. 1 Citizens Bank Way, (215) 463-1000, phillies.com/themenights
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