Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and honor diverse cultures and traditions from all across the globe.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in a span of thirty days starting from September 15 through October 15. This celebration allows for a greater opportunity to properly acknowledge the valuable contributions that Hispanic and Latino Americans have made in the United States.
The significance of September 15 is important as it’s the anniversary of Independence for several Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The following days Mexico commemorates its independence on the 16th while Chile celebrates its independence on the 18th.
Almost a third of Arizona’s population has some sort of Latino roots from one of the numerous Latin American and Hispanic countries around the world.
Our very own Andy Viramontes, an employee at the Arizona State Fair since 1989, has a deep-rooted Mexican background. For Andy, this time of the year means so much to him in recognizing his Hispanic heritage.
“It’s pride to recognize my heritage,” Andy said. “I used to go to the fiestas in Downtown and eat all types of Mexican food and see the dancers, it’s really something special.”
Usually for Andy, Hispanic Heritage Month means his mom’s homemade tamales. Just last year, Andy lost his mom, Josie. A fellow member of the Fair family, she sold Admission tickets to eager fairgoers in search of delightful family entertainment.
“My mom, she was an excellent cook,” Andy said. “She used to make burritos here and I would give them to our employees. Making food around this time of year is tamale time. I miss that from her but that was something she used to do for us.”
An Arizonan native, Andy has been with the Arizona State Fair for 34 years but his history with the Fair goes back even further.
“I was probably about five years old,” Andy said. “I remember a guy in a jetpack taking off up in the air and then coming back down. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, I’ll never forget it!”
Now the Receiving Manager for the Arizona State Fair, Andy is essential when ordering supplies and equipment for the entire organization.
“They come to me, I’ll research it and go get the item,” Andy said. “Anything to help run the Fair.”
In the coming weeks, Andy is looking forward to experiencing everything the Fair has to offer. From the rides to the attractions, he’s most excited about taking a spin on the La Grande XL.
“I like going on the Ferris Wheel,” Andy said. “I know it’s old-fashioned but I like going up and seeing the whole Valley from up there.”