Mariachi festival to celebrate Hispanic culture

Abbie Stuart

On September 16, Topeka will celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day and kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with a Mariachi Festival.

The festival, which aims to celebrate Hispanic culture, will be September 16, 17 and 20 in downtown Topeka and will include live music, food, and a movie at the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas on Sunday.

“I think that mariachi music is just a different aspect of Mexican music and I would hate to see that music die,” said Rosa Cavazos, Tourism Development Manager.

“I thought it would just be a great way and another involvement for people to see a different side of the Mexican culture,” said Cavazos.

The festival will begin with mariachi bands playing down S. Kansas Ave. at 11:30 a.m.

Many local restaurants will be participating in mariachi specials from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All participants need to do to receive the special is mention the Kansas Mariachi Special to receive anything from a special dish to a discount on their check.

The evening activities will start at five with music by the statue at the Topeka Performing Art Center celebrating the lives of the members of Mariachi Estrella, Topeka natives who were killed in 1981 when two skywalks collapsed while playing at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City. Mariachi Estrella was one of the first all-female mariachi groups in the country.

At 5:30 p.m., Mayor Larry Wolgast will speak. After that, Ballet Folklorico de Topeka will perform. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a beer, margarita, and tequila garden and an art show featuring the work of Jamie Colon. After a performance by Mariachi Azul, Rhythm of Oakland will kick off a street party at 7:00 p.m. between 7th and Quincy and 8th and Quincy.

“We’ve really tried to incorporate different aspects with the Mexican beer garden, the Rhythm of Oakland preforming and the mariachi group,” Cavazos said. “I really tried to encompass all ages. We’ll have face painting and balloon making, and I’m working on getting someone to come in and do a little store of Mexican items that are for sale.”

On Thursday, TPAC will host a performance by two premier mariachi groups, Mariachi Corazon from San Antonio, Texas and Mariachi Quetzal from Denton, Texas. The performance will be from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets in the form of bracelets are $10 and can be purchased ahead of time online, Wednesday evening during the festival’s activities, or at the door.

“We wanted to make it very affordable for everyone to come in and hear the music and for families and for students,” Cavazos said. “So we figured $10 was a good price to hear two hours of two different mariachi groups.”

The festival will conclude on Sunday with a showing of the movie “El Padrecito” starring Mario Moreno Cantinflas at the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas. The movie will be shown in Spanish at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online.

“A long time ago, Topeka used to…show Spanish films on Sundays,” Cavazos said. “This was a great way to reintroduce that back and kind of team up with the Jayhawk Theatre and hoping that maybe once a month we can do that on Sundays again.”

Cavazos said that people who attend the mariachi festival can expect to have a good time, experience something new, and listen to some great music.

“I think it’ll be a great party and a great way to hear some fantastic music,” Cavazos said.

For more information, please see or contact Visit Topeka at 785-234-1030.