For the 18th year, Viva México Festival 2019 will be the place to be in Madison to celebrate the Independence of México and offer a free cultural and family community event promoting Mexican heritage.
“I can’t wait to see all of the people from the community come out for this event and celebrating because we have so many things to be proud of as Latinos and as Mexicans and this is one way to show it as well as to have some fun with each other,” says Lupita Monoto, who along with her husband, Luis, organize the Viva México Festival in Madison every year.
The Montotos, of course, are the owners of La Movida 24/7 Spanish Radio who will host Viva México Festival on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Breese Stevens Field on Madison’s near east side. The event kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-O ct. 15) and will include great musical acts, delicious Mexican food, kids’ activities, traditional Latino folk dancers, exhibits, face painting, a cultural area, information, and more.
La Movida has an important partnership for this festival, Montoto says, with the Madison Police Department (MPD), Fitchburg Police and Fire Department and Amigos en Azul, Latino police officers in the MPD.
“These are very tough times with all of the bad things happening to our Latino community. So it’s important for us to come together as a community and keep growing the trust with law enforcement,” Montoto says, referring to ICE raids and immigration crackdowns in the city, state, and country. “We want people to know that the Viva Mexico Festival is a chance to celebrate and to be proud of who we are and show how beautiful the Mexican Independence Celebration can be.
“I know there is some fear in our community, but we need to keep living our normal lives and to have fun,” Montoto adds. “This event helps some families release a little bit of stress they might be having and it really brings the Latino community together.”
This will be the third year that the event will be held at Breese Stevens Stadium on Madison’s near east side. Montoto says she really enjoys having the event at Breese Stadium, which is home to the Madison Forward FC football team now playing its inaugural season in Madison.
“It’s really amazing. I love all of the remodeling they have done because of the new soccer team. It’s wonderful that the Latino community can have the entire field just for us for the festival,” she says. “We’re so excited and happy to continue working closely with Breese Stevens Stadium. We are very grateful for them for opening the doors for the festival for us. It’s a great partnership and collaboration.”
“We will also be having some of the Latino players from the Forward Madison FC team at the event who will be part of the Viva Mexico Festival ceremony. We’re really looking forward to that,” Montoto says. “Soccer is a big thing in the Latino community so having our own team and being part of a collaboration is important.”
There will be plenty of delicious Mexican food to enjoy, traditional Latino folk dance, exhibits, face painting, and information tables and more. Featured musical acts on Bank of Sun Prairie Stage will include Grupo Yndio, Memo Ibarra, Los Nuevos Cadetes de Linares de Rubén Guerrero, Ballet Folklórico México de Carlos y Sonia Avila, Grupo La Séptima Alianza, and Sonido DJ Miranda
Festivities are scheduled to start on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. with the traditional “Car Caravan Parade,” beginning at the Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park St, and ending at Breese Stevens Field, 917 E. Mifflin St.
“As far as this Viva Mexico Festival is concerned, everything started with the car parade and the caravan back in the day. The caravan was first. The following year we decided to do the whole festival,” Montoto remembers. “That car parade and caravan was so much fun at the Villager Mall just yelling ‘Viva Mexico!’ and doing el grito. So we like to always continue doing that part of the festival.”
‘El Grito de la Independencia’ (Cry of Independence) kicks off the event every year and honors Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo’s first call to arms that were made in the village of Dolores, in the state of Guanajuato.
“It’s a great day to highlight the importance of celebrating in the United States the Mexican Independence Day,” Montoto says. “We’re very excited to be having the Consul here. He will doing the kick off for the event with the grito.”
Consul Julián Adem Díaz de León, Consulate of México in Milwaukee, will help kick things off with a presentation of the flags and the singing of the national anthems of México and of the United States of America.
“On top of that, we are going to be having Madison Mayor Satya [Rhodes-Conway] doing the proclamation of the festival along with [Madison Alder] Shiva [Bidar] and [Fitchburg Alder] Julia [Arata-Fratta]. Having all of them and recognizing the importance of celebrating the Mexican Independence really makes me happy because we’ve been working so hard for so many years on this festival,” Montoto says. “Having all of these great leaders and community members and organizations being part of the celebration really makes it unique.”
Viva México Festival 2019 will host five fun sponsored contests throughout the day with prize give-aways including “Best Decorated Automobile Contest,” “Best Traditionally Dressed,” “Taco Eating Contest,” “El Grito Contest,” and “Jalapeño Eating Contest.”
“I love seeing everybody together and united at Viva México Festival. It doesn’t matter if you are Mexican or not. We will be united as one community,” Montoto says. “It promises to be a very fun and entertaining festival – eating Mexican food, dancing, having folklore and culture. It’s going to be wonderful.
“Eighteen years of doing this festival never gets old. We couldn’t be happier to be hosting it again this year,” she continues. “This is an event that really unites our community.”