It’s that time again to head to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to celebrate Mexican Independence! This year the annual festivities commence with the ringing of the bell at the historic Casa de Estudillo on Saturday, September 12.
This free festival commemorates an important day in early San Diego history when Alta California was still part of Mexico. On September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s Grito de Dolores marked the beginning of Mexico’s war for independence from Spain. In 1825, the Republic of Mexico chose September 16 as its independence day.
The exciting and colorful Fiestas Patrias parade kicks off the festivities that will include the Escaramuzas, traditional women equestrians. Following the parade, there will be a variety of entertainment, including historic and traditional music and dance groups, crafts, games and informational demonstrations that represent the activities enjoyed by the early settlers on San Diego in the 1800s. The award winning Chula Vista High School Mariachis will perform during the day.
Park guests can relax and picnic in the grassy area in front of the stage that will be filled with spectacular musical entertainment and piñatas for children.
The event is sponsored by California State Parks, Boosters of Old Town, and the Old Town business community.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park presents the opportunity to experience the history of early San Diego by providing a connection to the past. Learn about life in the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872. Even today, life moves more slowly in this part of San Diego, where the hustle and bustle is balanced with history and fiestas. Visitors are offered a glimpse into yesteryear, as converging cultures transformed San Diego from a Mexican pueblo to an American settlement. San Diego became California’s first Spanish settlement when a mission and fort were established here in 1769. Later, it passed into the hands of the newly made Mexican government before gaining statehood in the United States after the Mexican-American War.
The core of restored original historic buildings from the interpretive period are complemented by reconstructed sites, along with early twentieth century buildings designed in the same mode. Five original adobe buildings are part of the historic park, which include museums, unique retail shops, and several restaurants. The Historic Plaza remains a special place for gatherings and historic activities. Visitors can also experience a working blacksmith shop, enjoy music, see or touch the park’s burros, and engage in activities that represent early San Diego.
The park is located on San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street in San Diego, and is conveniently adjacent to the Old Town Transit Center, with Coaster, Trolley, and MTS Bus service.
California Department of Parks and Recreation manages 279 park units, which contain the finest and most diverse collection of natural, cultural, and recreational resources to be found within California. These treasures are as diverse as California: From the last stands of primeval redwood forests to vast expanses of fragile desert; from the lofty Sierra Nevada to the broad sandy beaches of our southern coast; and from the opulence of Hearst Castle to the vestiges of colonial Russia.