Kicking off National Hispanic Heritage Month in communities across the country are “fiestas patrias,” or “patriotic festivals,” celebrating Mexico’s independence from Spain. Denver’s last event in 2019 summoned 100,000 people to the capital’s Civic Center Park. This year, Colorado Springs will finally get its own single-day festival at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
While the party is a celebration of Mexican independence, the entire Hispanic community is invited to join in. “The majority of the Hispanic market here are Mexican, but you have a lot of people from other Latin American countries. We wanted to not only honor Mexicans, but we wanted to honor all Hispanics,” says Moni Hernandez, creator of Fiestas Patrias Colorado Springs.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., free, Alamo Park,
215 S. Tejon St., info at fiestaspatriascolorado.com
Those arriving at Alamo Park will encounter plenty of activities and culture. The day kicks off early with free breakfast burritos for active-duty military and veteran military servicepeople, courtesy of Healing Heroes, from 7 to 9 a.m. “There are a lot of military that are Hispanic that travel a lot and they don’t get to be recognized as Hispanic,” Hernandez says. “We just wanted to do something special for them and let them know that we are here and we want to celebrate them. And who doesn’t love burritos?”
A main concert stage will feature music by Gerardo Coronel, Carmen Jara and more, with Latin genres from reggaeton and bachata to tejano, salsa and flamenco. A ring will be set up for a Lucha Libre wrestling competition, and there’ll be a car show on the grounds as well as food from Latin American countries.
Hernandez and other event coordinators say they’re expecting 10,000 people to attend Fiestas Patrias Colorado Springs, which is being organized locally, independent from other Colorado celebrations. For Hernandez, a huge celebration will come when the festival is ushered in with a Sept. 13 proclamation by Colorado Springs’ City Council at City Hall. “That’s really exciting,” she says.
Gather for the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs’ seventh annual Organ Spectacular concert with a trio of organ soloists at First United Methodist Church. “We continue our exploration of the amazing repertoire for organ and orchestra with some extra brass for even more impact.” Arrive before the show for a 45-minute lecture by David Acton, director of music ministry at First Congregational Church. Sunday, Sept. 18, 2:30-4:30 p.m., 420 N. Nevada Ave.; see tinyurl.com/OrganSpectacular for tickets and info. 
Indulge your childhood (or adult) dreams of building your own model train layout. From swapping equipment to learning how to weather trains and rail props, this Train Expo Colorado show will have plenty for railroad enthusiasts. “The swap-meet-style event features traditional and non-traditional model train layouts, railroad collectibles, tools, etc.,” and there will be presentations by rail historians and operators. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17-18, Colorado Springs Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd., facebook.com/tecoshow.org.
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