Mariachi Festival Returns to National City

Created: 28 February, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022
Photo courtesy of the National City Chamber of Commerce

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

The sixth Annual International Mariachi Festival will be held Sunday, March 11, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at National City’s Pepper Park with free admission.

The festival is presented by the Port of San Diego with the National City Chamber of Commerce and celebrates the Mexican heritage found in San Diego through highlighting Mariachi music, ballet folklorico dancing, and other Mexican traditions.

In the six years since it began, the festival has become one of the city’s most beloved events and with the best attendance, according to a statement by president and CEO of the National City Chamber of Commerce Jacqueline Reynoso in a press release.

“It has grown considerably in size and scope since it first launched, and now, it’s a full-scale affair with something for everyone in the family to enjoy,” Reynoso said.

Professional mariachi groups from all over the United States and Mexico will be highlighted during the festival and student groups will have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes.

According to a Mariachi Festival press release, more than 10 mariachi groups have signed up to participate in the festival, with Mariachi Los Reyes premiering on the main stage.

Photo courtesy of the National City Chamber of Commerce

Family friendly activities include: face painting, caricatures, petting zoo, rock climbing, jumper world, carnival games, and see a lucha libre wrestling exhibition.The festival will also feature vendors and a beer garden for adults.

Aside from the live family oriented entertainment, students from the University of San Diego will have the opportunity to receive training from Mariachi Aztlan of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley from March 9 to 10.

Students will work with and learn from Rigoberto Alfaro, Sergio Caratachea, Javier Rodriguez, and Juan Manuel Arpero, according to the release.

Mariachi Festival events include:

The Mariachi Showcase with Orchestra at the University of San Diego on Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. This includes a performance of Mariachi Toreros de USD and the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra.

The Mariachi Student Showcase on Friday, March 9, where high school mariachi groups will compete to perform in the professional Mariachi Showcase. Tickets to attend this event are $10.

The Mariachi Showcase on Saturday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. featuring Mariachi Aztlan, Mariachi Los Reyes and the winning student group from the student showcase. Tickets to attend this event are $20.