TRACY -- Since the 1950s, residents in south Tracy have observed Mexican Independence Day off and on with neighborhood-wide celebrations.
The celebrations had stopped for several years recently.
"Sometimes the festival stopped for lack of funding, because they owed back taxes, and the priorities changed through the years," said Mercy Silveira, a long-time Tracy resident.
But South Side Community Organization revived the tradition in 2010, and is making the event an annual tradition for the community to enjoy again.
In order to make it possible, the group is holding its second annual 'Summer Bash' benefit to raise funds for the Mexican Independence Day celebration.
The fundraiser is set from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 27) at the Guadalupe Center, 126 W. 11th Street.
Local DJ, Frank Pérez, will spin popular dance tunes, from old school and classic to contemporary music. And a barbeque dinner will be served.
Tickets are $10 per person, and can be purchased in advance at El Castillo, or by contacting Silveira at (209) 740-8186. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
Organizers are hoping to sell enough tickets and food to make the Mexican Independence Day celebration on Sept. 17 at MacDonald Park as elaborate and festive as possible.
The traditional Grito (Call for Independence) will be delivered by Raúl Nava Villa, the grandson of Mexican revolutionist Pancho Villa.
This year, South Side Community Organization also is adding a parade. Entries are still being accepted.
Vendors for the festival also are being recruited. Vendor spaces are $80 for arts and crafts and nonprofit organizations, $40 for political candidates and $90 for businesses.
The deadline for these submissions is Sept. 12.
Food for sale will only be provided by El Castillo Mexican Restaurant, which will benefit the South Side Community Organization.
Also for the first time in a long time, the Latino community of Tracy will crown a Queen and Princess of Patriotic Festivities. The young ladies have already been chosen.
Selecting a queen and princess is a long standing tradition in the Mexican culture.
"Some of the elders still remember these festivities," said Silveira, who now is one of the organizers of the event. "It's in the heart of the Latino community.
"Some of the new generations have never participated, so this is another avenue to educate them, and have them appreciate the culture, learn and be proud of the music, the food and the traditional dresses."
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