Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Araceli Villanueva

Sugar skulls? Tacos? Live music? Games? That can only mean one thing: Hispanic Heritage month is upon us and local businesses all across the KC metro are eager to celebrate the community’s heritage and culture.


Hispanic Heritage Month’s roots go back to 1968. It begins each year on Sept. 15, the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16, Sept. 18, and Sept. 21, respectively.


So in honor of this celebration, the U-News staff would like to invite readers who are interested in learning more about Hispanic Heritage Month and the rich Hispanic culture to visit the Heritage Center at Mahaffie in Olathe (1200 E. Kansas City Rd.) and Mattie Rhodes Art Center and Gallery (919 W. 17th Street, KCMO 64108).


The Heritage Center at Mahaffie recently hosted a variety of lectures like “Trade Along the Santa Fe Trail” by Gene Chavez and “Latinos Laid the Rails” by Antonio Delgado, who shared his recent research regarding refugees who fled north to Kansas and worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. Upcoming events include Latino American Culture Night on Oct. 13 from 7-9 p.m., which will feature local band Trio Atzlan, a fashion show of traditional Latin America dress and dancing by El Grupo Folklorico Atotonilco. As well, “The Continuing Struggle,” a presentation by Gene Chavez, will provide a historical overview of the Latino struggle for civil rights with music provided by local Panamanian/Mexican musician Enrique Chi on Oct. 15 from 6:30-10 p.m.


On Oct. 2, Mattie Rhodes will kick off their 17th annual Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition from 6-9 p.m. with an opening reception including food, live entertainment and artwork. The following day (Oct. 3) from 1-9 p.m. is their annual Day of the Dead Street Festival. As part of KC’s largest and longest running Day of the Dead festival, it will feature arts and crafts from local artisans, traditional dishes and breads by various vendors, carnival-style games and live entertainment throughout the day for the whole family to enjoy. In Mattie Rhode’s main gallery, guests will get a sneak peek at the altars made by the locals that are to honor the lives of those who have past, which is one of the most important traditions in Mexico. The exhibition ends Nov. 6th with their annual closing reception and late-night Light Up parade.


If you cannot attend any of the upcoming lectures and festivals due to a busy schedule, no worry. There are several local authentic Mexican markets in the KC metro area that offer authentic Mexican ice cream and/or pan dulce (variety of sweet Mexican breads), traditional dishes and produce. Feel free to check out the following businesses:


  • Paleteria Tropicana

830 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

151 S 18th St., Kansas City, KS 66102

539 E Santa Fe St, Olathe, KS 66061


  • Bonito Michoacan

1150 Minnestoa Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102


  • San Antonio Carniceria y Tortilleria

830 Kansas Ave, Kansas City, KS 66105


  • Panaderia de Las Americas

826 Southwest Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108