Sunday, June 16, 2024

September fairs and festivals: fitness fun, intellectual intrigue and independence parties

With temperatures cooling and schools reopening, it may feel like the summer is coming to a close. Luckily, the festival season in Mexico is a year-round affair, meaning there is plenty to enjoy and learn in September. It’s also the month of the Independence Day holidays, which are arguably the country’s most revered festivity, honoring the start of the Revolution when on September 15, 1810, the priest Miguel Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and — as the story goes — inspired the masses with the cry: “Long live Mexico!”

Mariachi and Horsemanship Festival, Guadalajara, Jalisco (Now-September 4)

A music genre close to the hearts of many Mexicans is celebrated in the state where it originated. Large sombreros and smart suited performers can be expected as the International Meeting of Mariachi and Horsemanship celebrates its 29th year in Guadalajara with the opening night at Plaza de las Américas on August 25 at 6:30 p.m. The horsemanship competition is on August 27 from 11 a.m. at Lienzo Charro, also known as “Los 3 Potrillos.” Most of the concerts are at the Degollado Theater with tickets from 1,140-3,540 pesos (US $57-$178).

Fresnillo Festival, Fresnillo, Zacatecas (Now-September 16)

The annual festival known as Fenafre will be back in the second largest city in Zacatecas, Fresnillo. The events will take place in Lagunilla Park to celebrate 466 years since the city’s foundation. The beauty pageant is leading the build up and Fresnillo’s beauty queen is likely to feature heavily during the festival, which will see Banda music from El Recodo and from Bronco.

• HAY Arts and Science Festival, Querétaro city (August 31-September 4)

The HAY festival returns to Querétaro city, offering plenty of food for thought for the intellectually curious. Writers, journalists, classical musicians, political commentators, scientists and more descend on the city in central Mexico for a few days of vivid conversation and debate. Tickets can be bought on the website, most events costing 20 pesos ($1). There is a strong international showing, including the Nigerian writer and 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Oluwole Soyinka.

Mexican Short Film Festival, Mexico City (September 1-30)

The 16th edition of the International Festival of Mexican Short Films, the biggest shorts festival in Latin America, will take place all over Mexico city in 16 boroughs, including at the National Cineteca in Benito Juárez, the National Autonomous University (UNAM) Cultural Center in Coyoacán and Cinemex Reforma in the city center, among other venues. More information on venues can be found here and it’s recommended to go directly to venues to find out more information on screenings.

• Torreón Festival, Torreón, Coahuila (September 2-October 2)

Torreón’s annual festival is back and is seeking to dazzle the Coahuila public with bright lights and spectacular shows. The festival aims to provide modern entertainment, with impressive, adrenaline provoking fairground rides, a dancing on ice theatrical performance, an opening concert from international DJ Steve Aoki and later from the Mexican cult rock group Molotov. Concert tickets start at 250 pesos ($12.50) and can be bought here

• Veracruz Triathlon, Veracruz city (September 3)

Sweat, struggle and a sense of achievement are guaranteed at the Veracruz Triathlon at Boca del Río, in the south of Veracruz city. Athletes can choose between a range of events, the longest being a 1,500 meter swim, a 40 kilometer cycle ride and a 10 kilometer run, as well as shorter “Sprint” races. To register go to “Crea tu cuenta” and fill in the form with your details here or download the “AsDeporte Oficial” application. Participation costs US $132 for foreigners.

• Zacatecas Festival, Zacatecas city (September 3-18)

Zacatecas Festival is back for two weeks in September, in a city where northern culture is celebrated. Banda and Norteño music dominate the line up, with circuit favorites Christian Nodal, Julión Álvarez and well loved Mexican-U.S. outfit Los Tigres del Norte. Access to the funfair, where many of the concerts will take place, is free. Tickets for concerts at the Palenque start at 620 pesos ($31) and can be bought here.

The Veracruz triathlon
The Veracruz Triathlon runs September 3 in Boca del Río.

• Book Proposal Masterclass from the San Miguel Literary Sala, online (September 13-November 15)

Budding non-fiction writers shouldn’t miss the Bang Out Your Book Proposal six-part masterclass with literary agent Anna Knutson Geller, who has 20 years in the industry. The course will help to clarify a book’s hook, audience and market category and groups of 4-6 students will learn why some book proposals succeed and others fail, and to ultimately have a book proposal ready at the end of the course.

An application must be submitted to participate and the course costs US $1,800. More information can be found at the San Miguel Literary Sala website. Classes are from 7-9 p.m. on September 13, 20; October 13, 20 and November 8, 15.

Independence Day Holidays, Dolores de Hidalgo, Guanajuato (September 15-17)

“Viva México” will resound around Mexico in mid-September, and nowhere louder than in Dolores de Hidalgo, where priest Miguel Hidalgo made the mythical cry to kick start the Revolution. There still isn’t much information about this year’s event in Dolores de Hidalgo, but there will be concerts, a funfair and plenty of tricolor flags. Little planning is needed as a festive atmosphere is assured. Guaranteed, the whole crowd will come together to respond to the names of revolutionary heroes with the cry “¡Viva!” (“Long may they live!”) followed by repeated shouts of “¡Viva México!” (“Long live Mexico!”)

SCORE 400 off-road racing, Ensenada, Baja California (September 17)

Cars, motorcycles, quad bikes and other four-wheelers line up to race through the desert terrain of Baja California. In the third of four race weekends, competitors will look to complete the 640-kilometer circuit fastest, with separate contests for different types of vehicles. The races are on September 17 and awards are presented on September 18.

• Xplor Bravest Obstacle Course Race, near Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo (September 18)

A novel race is set to take place in at the Xplor Park nature park, where some exciting hurdles are thrown in the way of racers. The obstacle course race is 5.5 kilometers long and promises spectacular natural scenery and will surprise runners with 40 obstacles including caverns and a lot of water. Tickets to take part cost 1,440 pesos (US $72) and can be found here.

• Santa Lucía Festival, Monterrey, Nuevo León (September 18-November 6)

Santa Lucía returns to Monterrey for the state’s biggest cultural event. The program hasn’t been released for this year yet, but the 2021 edition was a colorful blend of tradition and avant garde performance, including theater, dance, classical music, lectures and more. Keep an eye on the website for announcements about tickets.

• Rosarito, San Diego-Ensenada Bike Race, California-Baja California (September 24)

One race track awaits cyclists with a thirst for travel: the Rosarito-Ensenada Cycle Course goes from the U.S. to Baja California. The course is 82.5 kilometers of paved road and the first 35 kilometers straddle the ocean.

Five star tours is offering transportation from San Diego and assistance through the day from $79. U.S. citizens and non-Mexicans can sign up here for $55. Mexicans sign up here, tickets from 850 pesos ($42).

• León Marathon, León, Guanajuato (September 25)

A 42 kilometer marathon with a flat course is approaching for the fit and ready in Guanajuato’s biggest city. Participation costs 550 pesos ($28) and budding runners can sign up here. Shorter races are also available, at 5 kilometer, 10 kilometer and 21 kilometer distances.

• Ironman Triathlon, Cozumel, Quintana Roo (September 25)

There’s another event on for the fitness hungry in Quintana Roo and this one’s on a Caribbean island. Ironman 70.3 on Cozumel island involves a 1.9 kilometer swim, a 90 kilometer bike ride along coastal paths and a 21 kilometer run. Athletes can register for US $400 and will have a perfect place to relax on the beach after some hard exercise.

• Fiestas del Sol, Mexicali, Baja California (September 28-October 16)

Baja California has another reason to celebrate with the Fiestas del Sol (“Sun Celebrations”) in Mexicali. The festival will offer concerts for 50 pesos (US $2.50), including a tribute to Luis Miguel, banda acts and some stand up comedy.  It will also see a classic car show parade with vehicles central to chicano culture. Concerts at the palenque stadium include Bronco and norteño accordion supremo Ramón Ayala, starting at 450 pesos (US $22.50). Tickets can be found here.

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