DC-area Hispanic Heritage Month events

The D.C. region is embracing the traditions and customs of its Hispanic residents through a host of Hispanic Heritage Month events.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the national observance of Hispanic Heritage Week and it was expanded to a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. The national celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month became law two years later.

It began on Sept. 15, which was the anniversary of independence for multiple Latin American counties, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

There are multiple other holidays that are celebrated by the Hispanic community within the 30-day period, such as Independence Day for Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18) and Día de la Raza, or Day of the Races (Oct. 12).

The monthlong celebration ends on Oct. 15.

Multiple jurisdictions in the D.C. area have planned festivals and parades to celebrate the festive nature of its Latino community. Many activities focused on music, food, arts and culture. See more below.


Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff events
Friday, Sept. 16 to Saturday, Sept. 17 at the American History Museum

The Smithsonian will host two events on opening weekend: First, an after-hours Dance Party with food and drinks on Friday, Sept. 16. Then on Saturday, Sept. 17, it will host a Family Day inside the museum featuring a skating demonstration, multiple presentations and a concert.

See The Smithsonian’s full calendar of events online.

Fiesta DC
Saturday, Sept. 24 to Sunday. Sept. 25 at Pennsylvania Ave. and 14th Street in Northwest D.C. 

Considered the District’s landmark annual event during Hispanic Heritage Month, the two-day festival features a parade, a beauty pageant, a science fair and multiple food vendors to highlight the area’s Latino culture.

2022 Manassas Latino Festival
Saturday, Sept, 24 from 12-7 p.m. at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion

The annual event includes live music, dance performances, food and other fun activities — multiple performances will feature a South American flavor. For example, The Mystic Warriors, one of the festival’s performers, use ancient flutes and panpipes together with contemporary instruments to perform Andean folk music. See a list of the scheduled acts on the festival’s website.

Fiesta de Familia 
Sunday, Oct. 16 from 1-4 p.m. at Lane Manor Park 

Prince George’s County, Maryland’s closing event for Hispanic Heritage Month focuses more on bringing families together. The event will feature live entertainment, a youth soccer clinic and information on county resources.


Andean and Latin fusion band RAYMI 
Saturday, Sept. 17 at the National Museum of the American Indian

RAYMI, established in D.C. back in 1996, combines traditional Peruvian instruments with contemporary instruments. The band will have four hourlong performances at the Potomac Atrium starting at 12:30 p.m. See their schedule here.

123 Andrés at Arlington Public Libraries 
Sept. 26, 27, and 29 at multiple branches

Duo Andrés and Christina bring their Latin Grammy-winning and family-friendly music to the Central, Columbia Pike and Shirlington library branches. The pair blends bilingual lyrics together with music from multiple genres such as cumbia, salsa, merengue and bachata to provide a fun atmosphere for all to enjoy. See when they play.

Live! at the Library: U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Opening Reading
Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Thomas Jefferson Building in the Library of Congress

Award-winning poet Ada Limón will give her inaugural reading as the 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The historic reading marks the beginning of the Mexican American’s laureateship. Tickets are free.

“I SURVIVED LA CHANCLA” Comedy Show and Afterparty
Saturday, Sep 24, 7 p.m. at Simple Bar and Grill in Northwest D.C.

A night of laughs featuring an all-Latino lineup of comedians who have performed around the D.C. region and abroad, including at the DC Improv, Magoobys and Broadway Comedy Club. Tickets are $10.


Hispanic Heritage Month Craft Kit
Sept. 17-24 at Takoma Park Neighborhood Library 

Children over 8 years old can pick up craft kits, with items that represent some of the countries celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month. The kit includes papel picado crafts, ojos de dios crafts and puzzles. While supplies last.

Cooking Up History: Celebrating Comida Chingona & the Low-Rider Lifestyle
Saturday, Sept. 17, 12-1 p.m. at t
he National Museum of American History 

During Smithsonian’s Family Festival chef Silvana Salcido Esparza plans to prepare a cochinita pibil, a Yucatec Mayan pork dish, while discussing its roots and history. This event is free.

Hispanic Heritage Month Themed Trivia
Friday, Sept. 16, 1-2 p.m. at Mott Community Center (Senior Program)

Fairfax County will host an interactive trivia game focused on “facts, individuals and celebrations associated” with the Hispanic Heritage Month.

Latin American Film Festival
Sept. 22 to Oct. 12 at AFI Silver in Silver Spring, Maryland

Now in its 33rd year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival will feature 41 films from 21 countries, including Spain and Portugal. General admission tickets are $15. See the list of films and showtimes on AFI’s website.

Virginia Hispanic Chamber’s Restaurante Week
Oct. 10 to Oct. 16 

The Virginia Hispanic Chamber will highlight Latino establishments on its Restaurante Week webpage so residents and tourists can experience “the many different types of flavors” that make up the world of Latino Cuisine. Restaurants highlighted on the website will have Restaurante Week specials and deals guests can take advantage of during the week.

WTOP’s Juan Herrera, Veronica Canales and Carlos Ramirez contributed to this report.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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