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Celebrate Chicano Park Day in San Diego This Weekend

The 48th annual festival features mariachi bands, ballet folklórico groups, and more


Chicano Park. | Photo: Stacy Keck

Celebrate the roots of Chicano culture in San Diego amid the mural-covered walls under the San Diego–Coronado Bridge as the 48th annual Chicano Park Day kicks off this Saturday, April 21.

The 7.4-acre park in Barrio Logan, a National Historic Landmark, will host traditional Chicano music, Aztec Indigenous dance, children’s art workshops, food, arts and crafts vendors, and 300 classic lowrider cars. The event is free and open to the public. This year's theme is “El Corazón de Aztlán”—“The Heart of Aztlan”—a reference to the legendary homeland of the Aztec people in the Southwest.

Along with the indigenous dancing from Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca, attendees can expect performances from Grupo Folklórico Pasión a México, La Rondalla Amerindia, USD Ballet Folklórico, Mariachi Familiar, and speakers representing the Chicano Park Steering Committee, Brown Berets de Aztlán, Amigos Car Club, and Via International. 

The annual gathering is a celebration of the park’s takeover on April 22, 1970. The park had been established in 1969, but in 1970 the community rose up and successfully protested plans to build a California Highway Patrol station in the park, firmly establishing it as a community space and symbol of Mexican-American culture and history. The murals depict themes of immigration enforcement, political and civil rights struggles, feminism, and identity. The most recent mural, a 12-foot by 20-foot work completed this month, shows the Virgin of Guadalupe carrying water to immigrants in the desert, and bears the words “Amor, si se puede.” Sal Barajas, the artist who painted the new mural, also painted the park’s first, in 1973. Read our recent piece on Chicano Park's history, artworks and restoration here.

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