Acts taking the stage at the 1,500-seat venue include Mariachi Pasion, an all-female group from Tempe; local group Mariachi Corazon; Folklor Cultura Mexicana, a folklorica dance troupe from Guadalupe; and Ruth Soto, a 14-year-old singer and violinist from Chandler. And imbuing the fest with a "Latino Lilith Fair" kind of vibe, the headliner is Mariachi Mujer 2000 -- a 13-member, all-female group hailing from northern California.
Sponsored by the Chandler Coalition for Civil and Human Rights, the family-friendly event emphasizes education in two ways. First, festival proceeds benefit the Chandler Education Foundation Fund's scholarship program. Second, school-age kids are invited to get into the groove at free folklorico dance and mariachi music workshops conducted at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Classes convene from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, September 12 and 13; the students will then showcase their skills in a performance at Saturday's main event. (Next stop: Menudo auditions!)