September 23, 2011 | 6:34pm
The event will showcase performances by popular mariachi artists, including the Grammy-winning Los Camperos de Nati Cano
, and Patricia Martin, as well as dance troupe Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli of Chandler.
Organizers say the festival was started to mend the relationship between the city and its Hispanic community after the Border Patrol sweeps of 1997.
"We decided we needed to do something to show the Hispanic population in a popular light," says Jose Garcia, Vice President of Chandler Human Relations Commission (C3HR
). "And it had to be something that would attract everyone, not just Mexicans."
With immigration issues still alive in Arizona, Garcia believes events like this also help inspire Hispanic youth.
"It's important for the kids not to be ashamed of their culture and their background," he says. "This is one way to show them that they can be proud of it all."
Along with music and food, the event will feature performances from young dancers and musicians who have been part of the mariachi and ballet folklorico workshops at Chandler's Center for the Arts.
"It's growing every year," he says. "And there's a lot of interest from the community at large."
The 12th Annual Mariachi Festival will take place Saturday, September 24 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Tickets range from @20 to $50 and performances begin at 6 p.m. For more information, visit the Chandler Center for the Arts website
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