Late summer/early autumn is arguably the busiest time of year in Grand Rapids. Festivals, farmers markets and back-to-school events can make it difficult for people trying to keep up with all the hip happenings around town.
Well, add one more not-to-be-missed event to the calendar– Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on Sept. 15. Fortunately, the events take place throughout the whole month, with multiple opportunities to celebrate the cultural heritage that so many Americans share.
The purpose of the monthlong festival is to celebrate the history, culture and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain. National Hispanic Heritage Month was started in the sixties under President Lyndon Johnson. Reagan expanded it in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. September was chosen because several Central American countries celebrate Independence Day on Sept. 15. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Chile celebrates its independence on Sept. 18.
In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Grand Rapids Public Library will be a hub of activity. Panel discussions by special guests and local organizations, story times and live music will accentuate the month-long celebration, culminating in a day-long Dia de los Muertos Festival .
The Grand Rapids Public Library will present a series of educational and entertaining programming from Sept. 16 through Nov. 3. Kicking off the month of activity will be a “Community Conversation” with GRPL staff and clinical social worker Elisa Pérez-Arellano on Wednesday, Sept, 21, 6-7:30 p.m. The conversation will center on the impact of Latinx parental involvement and the effects of emotional absence on children and the family unit. This presentation is designed for Latinx parents and will be offered in Spanish.
Hispanic Heritage Game Day is set for Friday, Sept. 30, 4 – 6 p.m. in the main library, 111 Library St., NE. and includes a classic Bingo game, Loteria. Participants are invited to test their knowledge with trivia about Hispanic history and culture. This family-friendly event is presented in English and Spanish and is designed for all ages.
“Music in the Stacks” is a fun and lively event that allows people to enjoy local musicians among the books at the Grand Rapids Public Library. On Sept. 29, 2022, 6 – 7 p.m. Cabildo, a West Michigan based alternative Latin rock collective will perform at the main library on the first floor. Seating is first come, first served.
Grand Rapids’ Dia de los Muertos Festival on Sunday, Oct. 30, 3 – 7 p.m. at Roosevelt Park, 1340 Godfrey Ave., SW, in Grand Rapids. Elaborate altars honoring family and friends who have passed away will be on display throughout the afternoon for attendees to view.
Many more events celebrating Hispanic Heritage are scheduled. For more information visit the Grand Rapids Public Library website.