Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Visitors to the grand state of Arizona

Arizona proudly reflects long lines of Latino and Hispanic heritage for visitors to experience from celebratory fiestas, and festivals to southwest style cuisine, art and architecture, each express the vibrancy of the state’s rich and dynamic history. Visitors and locals alike embrace roots which run as deep as the Grand Canyon itself.

September 15th marks Mexican Independence Day and the kick-off of Hispanic Heritage Month. Offering a wonderful artisanal shopping experience year round, and an especially merry Mexican Independence Day, is Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. Fashioned authentically after a traditional Mexican village, Tlaquepaque with its fine tiled fountains, and over-arching balconies is known as, “The Art and Soul of Sedona.” Streets flower strewn, and filled with the footsteps of fiery flamenco dancers, resound with the music and spirit of the strolling mariachi, during the 38th annual Fiesta del Tlaquepaque to take place September 10, 2011. Here, visit with the village’s artists, each representing one of the unique galleries, shops, or exhibits among the charming courtyards, and patios comprising Tlaquepaque. “The artists at the Fiesta are a great expression of the diversity, artistry and spirit of the community,” says Wendy Lippman, Tlaquepaque General Manager and Resident Partner.

Celebrating the Day of the Dead
The last weekend of October, communities across Arizona come to life for the Mexican celebration, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. This traditional holiday commemorates the dead and honors ancestry through the creation of an offerenda or offering to display in the home. A spellbinding blend of dancers and stilt-walkers costumed as skeletons, march to drummers’ beats through downtown Tucson for the All Souls Procession, November 6, 2011. Watch or join in as people create a human powered parade, moving through the streets carrying photographs, wearing giant masks, skeleton make-up, costumes, or clothing belonging to loved ones. This ever popular procession has now become an entire All Souls Weekend celebrating and mourning lives of loved ones past. Sprinkled through Tucson, offerendas displaying music and art reflect the city’s colorful arts and heritage scene.

Also a lively expression of community, The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff will celebrate the Day of the Dead with the 8th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente, the last weekend of October. More than a dozen local families feature a display of offerendas in the museum’s courtyard. Vibrant expressions of mariachi music, arts, and storytelling teach about migration and the blending of cultural traditions of Latino and Hispanic origins.

Enjoy the beauty of the desert in the fall while listening to your favorite salsa, mambo or Spanish guitar song. Situated at the base of a beautiful mountain butte, The Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix brings the Music in the Garden Fall Concert Series. The romantic blends of Spanish guitar and authentic Flamenco by internationally celebrated Acoustic Guitarist, Domingo DeGrazia bring the spirit of the southwest to life. Commemorating Dia de los Muertos, the staple of the band Calexico, Sergio Mendoza creates a supernatural musical experience as he and his band sing and dance on stage dressed as skeletons. Enjoy Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta as they play a lively combination of traditional Cuban rhythms mixed with American Jazz. Energizing the audience, Fuerza Caribe entertains with a spicy mix of Latin and Caribbean beats true to their Dominican Republic roots. Authentic music and charismatic performers will bring you to your dancing feet during any one of the Desert Botanical Garden’s Fall Concerts.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon


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