Fiestas Primavera / Spring Festival at Benicia City Park, Sat., March 23

Let’s Educate and Celebrate, Not Denigrate

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Benicia, California – On March 23, 2024, Solano Aids Coalition, in partnership with the Benicia Unified School District, the Benicia Public Library, and Benicia Black Lives Matters, with help and support from a wide host of agencies and local businesses and non-profit groups, are bringing a spectacular cultural event to Benicia. Fiestas Primavera Benicia is a Mexican/Latino and Indigenous celebration of spring. This inclusive and free event will take place at Benicia City Park by the gazebo from 10:30am until 6pm and will be an extravaganza of ceremony, music, dance, art, education, vendors, food, and children’s and teen activities. There will even be a small classic car show and virtual reality trips to the past.

The Solano Aids Coalition has been producing cultural events throughout the county for many years, including the beautiful Dia De Los Muertos Festival, Fiestas Patrias, and Cinco de Mayo. This will be the first of its kind in Benicia, and will host vibrant entertainment, including elaborately costumed Aztec Dancers and Diablos de Oaxacanos, culminating with a Latin pop and jazz band which will get you out of your chair and onto the dance floor.

The children’s activities include catrina face painting, pinata making, clowns or payasos, and an exploration of the Mexican/Latino and Indigenous cultures and their own heritage through educational art projects and displays. Students will have the opportunity to display their artwork and read essays that demonstrate their passion for equity and inclusion. There is even a scholarship for two Benicia juniors and two sophomores for those who submit meaningful essays on history, immigration, and the impacts of racism on our community.

The purpose of this event is to bring education, awareness and celebration of the Mexican/Latino and Indigenous cultures to this community. The population of Benicia includes at least 14% Latino/Hispanic, making it the second largest ethnic group in the City, with another 13.5% of the population reporting to be of mixed race. More than 30% of our population is non-white. Benicia is ready to honor its cultural make-up and heritage through this interactive and inclusive event.

Fiestas Primavera Benicia is born out of the need for more community understanding and acceptance of our cultural make-up and the social and economic benefits of immigrants. Students in Benicia have been sponsoring a game they call, La Migra, which is an unsanctioned chase game modeled after the brutal and tragic capture and return of undocumented immigrants by INS agents. Teens have been playing this racist-based and bullying inducing game for decades, generally during the early spring. It has been the cause of much individual trauma and is a huge public safety concern.

“We need to focus on the benefits that immigrants bring to our country and communities, and not allow our children to grow up believing that immigrants should be sent back to where they belong.” says Mario Saucedo, Director of the Solano Aids Coalition and producer of community wide cultural events. “This country is built by immigrants – in fact, almost everyone in this country has an ancestral history of immigration, whether it was a decade or centuries ago. We really are all one people – the human race. So let’s celebrate – not denigrate – our cultural make-up and our history.”

Solano Aids Coalition and the supporting community of Benicia invite you to attend this amazing event on March 23 in Benicia City Park by the Gazebo. It will be a beautiful and inclusive celebration and eye opening event for all people of all ages.