By David Markham
Now it its fifth year, the 2023 annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center will feature art, theater, music, food, and history, and will be proceeded by an onsite job fair earlier in the day being presented by Kansas City Spanish Radio Station La Mega.
This event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. This event is free and open to the public, and promises something for everyone. No tickets or advance registrations are required. The La Mega job fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“This is a free event which activates the whole building with art, theater, music, food, and history to celebrate this rich and diverse culture,” Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong said of the annual celebration. “This event also features several community partners that make this evening feel so celebratory including El Centro, the Johnson County Library, La Mega Radio, Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club, and several talented performers.”
The event will be emceed by Latinx Education Collaborative President and CEO Edgar Palacios.
“Edgar guides the attendees in both English and Spanish to welcome everyone and highlight activities and performances throughout the evening,” Mong said.
Planned performances at the event include Mariachi Estrella KC, Voces Festivas, Amado Espinoza, Xánath Caraza, and more. There will also be a Papel Picado community art project for the entire family, the unveiling of a new bicycle design from the Olathe Lowrider Bike Club to be added to the museum’s collection, a live radio broadcast by La Mega KC, a healthy ingredients and cooking resources demonstration from El Centro’s Promotoras de Salud, and food samples from Mom’s Empanadas, Taco Naco, The Paleta Bar, and more.
The public can also experience a preview performance of “Frida Libre” from Theatre in the Park’s Blue Curtain Project at this event. The Blue Curtain Project is a new educational outreach program aimed at area school students within a 60-mile radius of Overland Park. “Frida Libre” is the initiative’s first show and is geared towards third- to sixth-grade students with a story rooted in science, biology, art, and heritage. This show’s educational aspects include the bones of the body, metamorphosis of a butterfly, the art and heritage of Frida Kahlo, and the struggles and triumphs of making friends.
The Johnson County Museum and its KidScape area, which are also located at JCAHC, will be open and free to the public during the Oct. 4 event as well. Included is a temporary special exhibit called “TRAINS: Transportation and the Transformation of Johnson County,” which examines how everything changed after the railroad came through Johnson County for the first time in 1867. One area of the exhibit incorporates information about traqueros, the Mexican and Mexican American track workers who were integral to the railroad’s expansion.
Last year, JCPRD welcomed about 350 attendees over the course of the two-hour event, and officials anticipate a robust crowd again this year!
For more information about and a complete schedule for JCPRD’s 2023 Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration¸ go to JCPRD.com/1566/Hispanic-Heritage-Month-Celebration.