WLMV-La Movida 94.5FM/1480 AM and Mid-West Family Broadcasting will be celebrating Mexican Independence Day with their 20th annual Viva México Festival on Sunday, Sept. 19, at Breese Stevens Field. Husband and wife, Lupita and Louis Montoto, founders and owners of La Movida Radio, are looking forward to continuing their tradition and enjoying time with their community.
“We started 20 years ago, it’s a big Mexican tradition,” Luis Montoto told Madison365. “It’s the Mexican Independence Day tradition. And it’s honestly like the 4th of July here in the U.S. There is a considerable amount of Mexicans in the United States and it’s been pretty popular to celebrate Mexican Independence with other Mexicans in town. It’s a chance to expose the general community to the Mexican Independence Day celebration and Mexican culture. It’s not just about tacos. It’s about music, it’s about dance, it’s about family.”
The celebration will kick off at noon with the traditional “Car Caravan Parade,” which will start at the Villanger Mall, 2300 S. Park St., then end at the Breese Stevens Field. The ceremony and celebration will begin at 2 p.m. Parade participants will have the chance to win cash prizes for “Best Decorated Car” and an official 2021 Viva México Festival T-shirt.
“That takes me back 20 years ago, exactly, and thinking of how the festival started,” said Lupita Montoto. “Everything started with the idea of being together, like we’ve mentioned, this is a family event. So being together with our families and we just thought ‘what If we go to The Villager Mall on Park Street, park our cars, then from there we can celebrate the Mexican Independence Day as it happens in Mexico on these days?’ So we did that, there were maybe 20 or 30 cars. We all got together and started the celebration that way. Bringing their families and friends together to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. So the next year, we thought, ‘well, this is gonna be a little bigger.'”
The pandemic put a halt to their in-person celebration. Last year, the festival was held virtually. This year, the Montotos are excited to get back to celebrating their history and spending time with family and friends.
“I think it’s important to do what we had been doing for the past 18 years,” said Luis Montoto. “And what I mean by that was the music, the celebration, the get-together. Obviously, you know, with the wearing masks and stuff like that, taking our precautions. But the festival is highly important to the Latino … to the Mexican families in town. One of the things that we’re so proud of is, as I mentioned earlier, exposing the Mexican culture, not just to the other cultures, but even within our own family. Because there’s a lot of kids that are born here. And, unfortunately, some have never been back or have never gone to Mexico … even though they are born from Mexican parents.”
The Montotos strive to inform the Mexican communities within Madison and surrounding areas about their heritage. This festival is a tradition that focuses on teaching Mexican children about their roots and the history of Mexico’s independence.
“And one of the things that we strive to do is precisely to expose the youth — the kids — that speak Spanish,” said Louis. “We want to expose them to the culture, to the music — to their own culture. And that’s one of the things that we try and accomplish, it’s one of our goals with our Viva Mexico Festival. So, the kids can be part of their heritage while also learning and growing up with the culture and their heritage here in the United States.”