TThe Cesar Chavez celebration begins with a march and a prayer.
It’s intended to commemorate the civil rights activist and union leader’s 300-mile march that went from Delano, California to Sacramento in 1966 that attracted the attention of farm workers, explained Jose Luis Chavez (unrelated), chairman of the committee for the celebration .
“We’re going to march around the amphitheater, basically that’s what they did,” he said.
And then the festive character of this celebration comes out.
The Cesar Chavez Celebration will take place on Saturday, July 17th, from 11am to 6pm at the Las Colonias Amphitheater, 925 Struthers Avenue. Admission is free.
After the march there will be a series of music, dance performances and special speakers with a car show and sales area, Chavez said.
Dancers from Nueva Generacion Folklorico and Absolute Dance Co. will perform as well as Danza Azteca, a group of young people from the valley who will recreate Aztec dances. “You are wonderful to watch the dance,” said Chavez.
The live music is provided by the La Familia Music Group and the El Festival, Benny Boom and The Band Alto from New Mexico.
There will be a car show open to all cars and motorcycles without limit, Chavez said.
The fee to put a vehicle on the show is a donation of non-perishable food that will be given to Palisade Children’s and Migrant Services, Chavez said.
The auto show is judged and there are prizes for the first three winners. There will also be drawings for gift baskets for those whose cars are on the show, he said.
Among the special speakers for the celebration is Joseph A. Salazar, a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, and the Cesar Chavez Person of the Year Award will be announced.
There will be stands in the sales area with people offering fitness and nutritional information – “we will try to make people healthy,” said Juan Luis Chavez.
A COVID-19 vaccination bus will be parked at the event and will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone who so wishes.
Providers include representatives from a variety of organizations and companies, including those who can answer questions and provide information about legal services, disability rights, and financial services.
Local law enforcement will be there to show off some of their cars and “kids can go in there and turn on the lights,” Chavez said. “We really want our community to have a good relationship with law enforcement.”
There will also be four food trucks for those who need something to eat or something cold to drink, he said.
While the celebrations will be a little different from previous years due to the pandemic – it usually takes place on March 31, Cesar Chavez’s birthday – and the annual essay contest and scholarship award have had to be postponed to another year, Juan Luis Chavez was hoping that people would come and enjoy themselves.
In addition to appreciating culture, at the event he wants to share the importance and value of higher education – something Salazar is likely to include in his remarks, Chavez said.
Overall, however, Chavez hopes participants will understand that “we are all in this community and must be together,” he said.