Saturday marks the official start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated in the United States every year from September 15 to October 15. The month-long observance is marked each year with a Presidential Declaration to commemorate the contributions made to American life by Hispanics in the United States.
The annual observance started in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week and was held during the week of the 16th of September recognition of Mexico’s Independence Day. It now also includes the independence days for several Central American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Mexico. The period was expanded in 1988 to become National Hispanic Heritage Month, although it is also referred to in some regions as Latino Heritage Month. The following are a few of the local events taking place that are open to the public, and where a taste of the Hispanic culture can be enjoyed.
Lea esta información en Español: Fiestas Patrias y Celebraciones del Mes de la Herencia Hispana 
Today, Thursday September 13
5-6pm—Chet Holifield Library in Montebello Celebrates Mexican Independence Day with special art activity: Learn to make popular tissue paper flags and flowers. The library is located at 1060 S. Greenwood Ave. Montebello, 90640. For more information, call (323) 728-0421.
Friday, September 14
4-11pm—3-Day Festival Purépecha Michoacano 20012 – Mexican Independence Day Celebration at Veterans Park in Bell Gardens. Live music and dance & foods from Michoacan, Mexico. Enjoy carnival games & more. Sponsored by the State of Michoacan, City of Bell Gardens and Federation of Clubs & Associations of Michoacan. Continues Saturday, 10am-10pm with official “El Grito” at 8:30 pm; Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Veterans Park is located at 6662 Loveland Ave. Bell Gardens 90201. For more information, visit www.festivalpurepechausa.org.
Saturday, September 15
11am to 3pm—Self Help Graphics & Art Latino Heritage Month Print Sale. Come by Self Help Graphics to check out and purchase fine art serigraphs and relief prints by Latino artists. The sale will also include food and music. Self Help Graphics is located at 1300 East 1st Street, in Boyle Heights, across the street from the Pico Aliso Eastside Gold Line Station. For more information call (323) 881-6444.
11am-5pm—Latino Heritage Month at the Autry celebrates the generations of Latinos who have influenced and enriched the American West with Latino Heritage Month. Includes annual Mata Ortiz pottery show and sale; Screenings of Zorro and The High Chaparral; musical performances; arts & crafts and more. Museum admission prices apply the Autry is located at 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
4pm-Midnight—Proyecto Jardin’s 2nd Annual ‘Grito in the Garden’ with garnacha appetizer potluck. The family friendly event includes kids cooking lessons, capoeira, a healthy piñata, youth dance contest with cash prize, a grito contest, and Zumba. The event will take place at 1718 Bridge Street, Boyle Heights. For more information call (323) 774-7824.
6pm—City of Los Angeles’ Annual El Grito Celebration & Concert at El Pueblo Historical Monument (Olvera Street). El Grito commemorates the historic call for independence by Father Miguel Hidalgo on Sept. 16, 1810, which marked the beginning of Mexico’s independence from Spain. Councilman Jose Huizar sponsors this year’s event that will include live musical entertainment, dancers, and the traditional color guard salute. The event will take place in the main kiosk at the Monument: 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles 90012.
Sunday, September 16
Noon to 4pm—Mexican Independence Day at LA Plaza de Artes y Cultura. Come by Los Angeles’ founder’s museum to celebrate the Mexican War of Independence on Sept. 16. The free, family day includes live musical and dance performances, and workshops on art, culinary arts, and gardening. Visit LA Plaza’s exhibit LA Starts Here! to discover life in Los Angeles before and after the Mexican War of Independence. LA Plaza is located at 501 N. Main St, LA 90012 (across from Olvera Street). For more information, go to www.lapca.org.
6 pm—Unveiling of Antonio Aguilar Statue at El Pueblo Historical Monument (Olvera Street). During the special ceremony a bronze statue of popular Mexican singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who has close ties to L.A., will be unveiled. A concert by Antonio Aguilar’s wife, Flor Silvestre and Antonio Aguilar Jr. will follow. Pepe Aguilar will also be in attendance. The festivities will take place at 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles 90012.
Tuesday, September 18
4pm-5pm—Aztec Dancers Perform at the Anthony Quinn Library in East LA in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Danza Azteca Xochipilli will present the traditions of the Aztecs through music, stories and dance. Dancers will perform in full indigenous costume and will play authentic wind and percussion instruments. No charge, open to the public. The library is located at 3965 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. LA 90063. For more information, call (323) 264-7715.
Wednesday, September 19
5-6pm—East Los Angeles Library Presents Stories and Art: Hispanic Heritage Month. Includes storytelling and art activity. The library is located at 4837 E. 3rd St. LA 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155.