The observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was extended in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.
Observed to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens descended from Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American peoples, National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Within this 30-day celebration, Mexico and Chile also celebrate their day of independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively, and Columbus Day, which can also be known as El Día de la Raza or Day of the Race, falls on Oct. 12, which is observed differently throughout Hispanic countries.
Communities through the United States join in to celebrate with festivals, art exhibits, cultural exhibits and educational events. This year, local restaurants, businesses, and individuals have come together to sponsor a fiesta, or party, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Beginning noon Oct. 2, Hoyt Shadid Park will be packed with vendor booths, piñatas, raffles, games, face painting, music and food. Attendees are encouraged to get comfortable and bring their favorite lawn chairs and a shade tent, but the weather is expected to be nice for early fall.
“It’s going to be a really cool event, not only for the Hispanic citizens, but for everyone to experience this rich culture,” Parks Supervisor Freddy Perez said. “The events are not the normal thing and there’s something to interest everyone.”
Events include a tortilla roll-off contest, piñata breaking, horseshoe tournament, accordion battle, and hot sauce contest judged by the Altus Fire Department. The evening ends with a cumbia dance contest with youth, adult and senior divisions and music by local DJ Alex Garrido.
Sponsors of the event include Mi Familia Restaurant, American Home Center, Montiel Imports, Suds ‘r Duds Laundry, Renee Long, Lopez Construction, Hide Out Sports Bar and Rodriguez Auto Detail.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.