The Silver State has welcomed Hispanic Americans since its Old West beginnings with Spanish-speaking miners in Virginia City among the state’s first pioneers. Today more than 30 percent of Nevada’s population is Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau.
As the country marks National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, there’s plenty to celebrate in Nevada.
From Las Vegas to Reno, here are five purposeful ways to pay tribute to the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Americans in Nevada.
Go to a festival
Fiestas, festivals and block parties abound in Nevada during Hispanic Heritage Month. These events are fun for the whole family and, best of all, free.
In addition to several festivals in Las Vegas, Reno will present its annual Fiesta on Wells from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 14. This enormous street party covers five blocks of South Wells Avenue, from Burns to Vassar streets, with music, food, folkloric dancers and more.
For more information, visit latinoarte.org.
Celebrate signs of Hispanic heritage
The Neon Museum provides a colorful reminder of Las Vegas history by showcasing an eclectic collection of iconic hotel and casino signs, including 24 working signs.
The non-profit museum shines a light on Hispanic Heritage Month with 15-minute gallery talks highlighting the history behind signs and properties relevant to the Hispanic community:
- Flamingo Hotel & Casino: The late Raul Rodriguez is known for creating the iconic plumed sign that still lights up the Flamingo’s facade, as well as other signage that is on display in the boneyard.
- El Cortez Hotel & Casino: This historic hotel, located in downtown Las Vegas, is known for its Spanish Colonial design.
- La Concha Motel: This distinctive motel with a shell-shaped sign once sat on the Las Vegas Strip and now serves as the Neon Museum’s lobby.
- Paul’s Sign Company: This is a family-run neon sign company in Las Vegas that is owned and operated by Mexican Americans.
Gallery talks take place Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and are included with general admission ($10-$20). The museum also offers Spanish language tours on Thursdays, Friday and Saturday evenings year-round ($14-$28). For more information, visit www.neonmuseum.org.
Enjoy Spanish-language films
The City of Henderson and the Mexican Consulate of Las Vegas are screening nearly a handful of short Spanish-language films during the Short Film Festival on Water Street Plaza at 7 p.m. Sept. 16.
The free, family-friendly festival will feature not uno, but cuatro short films (ranging from 9-15 minutes each) on the plaza’s 42-foot-wide digital screen:
- “Camila”: This award-winning 2018 short film is about a shy 12-year-old girl named Camila who finds refuge from her sadness in her sketchbook.
- “El Último Cantador”: Don Alberto is determined to preserve the ceremonial songs of the ancient Pima language in this 2020 short film.
- “Gina”: A 2018 animated short film about a little girl born with a chicken suit who dreams of dancing a Son Jarocho.
- “Mujer de Tierra”: This 2022 short film follows the testimonies of a group of female embroiderers who reveal the obstacles they have overcome to follow their own values and will.
Picnics are encouraged. Light concessions will be sold. Attendees may bring their own chairs.
Have fun with arts & crafts
Celebrate Hispanic culture by creating something meaningful with your own hands. Educational and fun for the whole family, here are some arts and crafts activities happening in Nevada.
Art of Cartonería
Where: Aliante Library
When: 1-3 p.m. Sept. 30
Ages: 6 and up
Learn the art of papier-mâché with local artist Vanessa Maciel and make a “Luchador”. For more information, call 702-839-2980.
Decorate a Dia de los Muertos skull
Where: Clark County Library
When: Sun, Oct 1, 11 a.m.–Noon
Ages: 18 and up
Print and decorate your own 3D-printed skull for Dia de Los Muertos. For more information, call (702) 507-3427.
Where: City Hall Library in North Las Vegas
When: 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 4.
Learn about the music of the Hispanic culture and make your own “Maracas”. For more information, call (702) 633-1070.
Sing along with Encanto
Northern Nevadans can sing along with the music of Disney’s award-winning animated film, Encanto, at 8 p.m. on October 7 at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino (GSR) in Reno.
Fun for the whole family, the “Encanto: The Sing-Along Film Concert” is a unique theatrical event, showcasing the entire feature-length film, accompanied live by an on-stage band. Audience members are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters from the film and to sing along with the record-breaking soundtrack, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda,
Tickets start at $19.50. For more information, visit grandsierraresort.com.
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