Honoring the culture and contributions of Latino Americans in Johnson County and across the United States is the goal of a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration planned for Oct. 13 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.
This free event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at JCAHC, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. The public is invited and advance registration is not required for this free community event.
“This is a great opportunity to see, taste, hear, and experience the incredible and diverse Latino cultures in Johnson County,” said Johnson County Museum Curator of Interpretation Andrew Gustafson. “Latinos make up a historic community in Johnson County.”
The event will include live performances throughout the evening from Mariachi Estrella KC, Iskay, Jessica Ayala, and Calpulli Iskali, and a poetry reading from internationally acclaimed poet Xánath Caraza. In addition, the Olathe Hispanic Leadership Lowrider Bike Club will have some of their projects available, there will be a facsimile of an amazing Aztec Codex from the UMKC Special Collections available for viewing as well as student projects from a Latino literature class at Shawnee Mission North High School and an opportunity for participants to make their own Codex, the El Centro organization will be on-site, and there will be paletas (ice cream treats) for everyone!
This will be the third year the Johnson County Museum has presented Hispanic Heritage Month event. The first was an in-person event in 2019, which drew “a couple hundred” attendees, followed by a virtual event in 2020 which reached thousands of Johnson Countians through recorded videos still available on the Museum’s Facebook page, and now back to a live format for 2021.
“This is such a great family-friendly, come-and-go event,” Gustafson said. “(JCPRD) Culture Division staff, along with more than a half dozen community partners, have been planning this event for months. There is plenty of space to spread out at the arts & heritage center, and COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including recommended mask wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing.”
Another museum offering involving Latino history in Johnson County will take the form of a Thursday, Oct. 7, program called Latinos on the Santa Fe Trail, which will be part of celebrating the famed trail’s 200th anniversary. In this one-hour in-person program, which will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at JCAHC, Dr. Gene Chavez will reveal a slightly different perspective of the trail: Mexican traders traveling east up the trail to Missouri!
This program is for ages 21 and older and will include snacks and beer. The cost is $6 per person for ages 21 to 60, $5 for ages 60 and older, and museum members receive a 20% discount. Register for this program at JCPRD.com.