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Summer Concert Series Kicks Off With Annual Celebration of Oaxacan Customs

4th Annual Guelaguetza Festival is The First of Several Cultural Events This Season
Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli
Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli performing at last year's Guelaguetza festival. Mauricio Banegas

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The "Hub City Sounds" summer concert series is set to bring jazz, blues, and other musical styles to free events throughout the Hub City between July 24 and September 18.

Hub City Sounds offers acoustic outdoor performances as part of free, family-friendly events held at various locations including Boyd Park and Joyce Kilmer Park, as well as the Crossroads Theatre and State Theatre in downtown.

The first event of the series will be the Guelaguetza, an annual tradition in the Hub City, inspired by a cultural event occurring in Oaxaca, Mexico, the native homeland of many New Brunswick residents.

Over 200 dancers, drummers, and musicians will unite together to celebrate Oaxacan culture, beginning with a march down French Street at 11:30 am towards their final destination, Boyd Park.

The march begins at War Memorial Park, known to locals as "Parque Oaxaca," at the intersection of Jersey Avenue, French Street, and Handy Street.  The Boyd Park event starts at 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm.

During the event, the New Brunswick Cultural Center and the New Brunswick Fire Department will offer free games for children, allowing the audience to bring blankets and chairs.

A couple from Oaxaca will be attending the festival to perform the Jarabe Mixteco, a traditional dance.

Members of various cultural groups such as Freehold's Folkcloric Costa de Oaxaca, and Kalpulli Huehuetlatolli, a non-profit organization promoting the preservation of indigenous traditions in Mexico, will be leading the festival.

Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli is focused in developing a cultural discussion among different communities in New Jersey and New York through presentations of Mexica dance and native language workshops.

One month earlier, Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli was in New Brunswick to participate in spiritual ceremonies in solidarity with teachers and protesters in Oaxaca, performing at a mass demonstration inside the Second Reformed Church.

The Consulate of Mexico located in New York will also be present to answer questions on programs and initiatives they are offering to preserve Mexican culture.

Teresa Vivar, one of the event's organizer, says the celebration has grown and improved in recent years, highlighting the quality of diversity and culture in the area.

“People might read books on ethics and customs, but they must witness the culture that exists in New Brunswick,” Vivar told NBToday.

The public can park for free  at the garage of the Rutgers Public Safety Building, located just off of Abeel Street near Commercial Avenue, just a short walk from Boyd Park.