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Coming Soon...
Friday, May 25
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:00 PM Film: Firefly Dreams
6:00 PM Film: Coco
7:00 PM City Heights Dance Festival
7:30 PM Music: Natalia Lafourcade
8:00 PM Film: Hin Und Weg (Tour De Force)
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Saturday, May 26
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:00 AM Harmony in Action Cross-Cultural Non-Profits Fair
1:00 PM Piñata Festival
2:00 PM Book Signing: Madeline Swidler Scott
2:00 PM Film: Satoyama
2:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
3:00 PM Music: Breizh Amerika
6:00 PM Music and Dance: Samahan
6:30 PM Stage: Moana
7:00 PM Music: Jenni Rivera Tribute Concert
7:00 PM City Heights Dance Festival
7:30 PM Music: Breizh Amerika
7:30 PM Film: Moana
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Sunday, May 27
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
10:30 AM German Film: Quatsch Und Die Nasenbärbande (Fiddlesticks)
11:00 AM 38th Annual Ethnic Food Fair
2:00 PM City Heights Dance Festival
2:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Monday, May 28
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Tuesday, May 29
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:00 PM Stage: Les Misérables
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
7:30 PM Lecture: 1918-Death In Vienna, City Of Dreams
7:30 PM Music: Chano Dominguez
Wednesday, May 30
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:00 PM Film: Goodbye Christopher Robin
6:00 PM Film: America's Untold Story
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
7:00 PM Stage: Les Misérables
Thursday, May 31
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
5:00 PM Talk: The Rise and Fall of a Fraud Investigator in China
6:10 PM Padres Italian Heritage Night
6:30 PM Panel Discussion: Cross-Border Legal Transactions for Artists
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Friday, Jun 1
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
11:00 AM Food: Tijuana Renaissance/Feast For the Heart
6:30 PM Lecture: Kumeyaay Ethnobotany
7:00 PM Beer & Sake Festival
7:00 PM Stage: Les Misérables
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Saturday, Jun 2
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 AM Talk: AfroFuturism Dream Tank
10:00 AM UCSD Powwow
11:00 AM Music: Sam Hinton Folk Festival
11:00 AM Noodle Competition with Mike Chen
12:00 PM House of Denmark Lawn Program
2:00 PM Ukrainian Embroidery Workshop
2:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
2:30 PM Music: From Russia with Love
3:00 PM Mabuhay Festival: Philippine Independence Day
6:00 PM Book Signing: Wherever You Go, They Are There
6:00 PM Music: Scripps Mariachi Festival
6:30 PM Film: Moulin Rouge
7:00 PM Stage: Les Misérables
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Sunday, Jun 3
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
11:00 AM Japanese Cultural Bazaar
11:00 AM House of England Lawn Program
2:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
3:00 PM Music: African Sanctus
5:00 PM Music: Manohara Sangeetham
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
7:00 PM Stage: Les Misérables
7:30 PM Music: Mexican Regional
Monday, Jun 4
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
Tuesday, Jun 5
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
7:30 PM Lecture: 1918-Death In Vienna, City Of Dreams
Wednesday, Jun 6
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
6:30 PM Talk: Kumeyaay Ethnobotany
7:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Thursday, Jun 7
All Day Ongoing and Extended Events
8:00 PM Stage: A Thousand Splendid Suns
San Ysidro's Independence Festival at the Border
San Ysidro's Independence Festival is the only Fourth of July celebration held at the Mexican-U.S. international border. In this vibrant binational community, patriotism and classic Fourth of July traditions are reimagined with a Mexican twist.

By Alyssa Jorgensen


Just two miles north and an exit away from the Mexican border, on the fray of the enduring binational borough of San Ysidro, California, hundreds of United States flags fly in unison.

It's the Saturday before America's 241st birthday, and crowds of the community's Mexican-American residents have gathered at Cesar Chaves Park to celebrate its sixth annual "Independence Festival at The Border."

This junction between San Diego and Tijuana, known for its Port of Entry that oversees over 30 million border-crossings a year, sets the scene for the only Fourth of July Celebration held along the entire two-thousand mile expanse of the Mexico-U.S. border. The core mission of the event: to give platform to an alternative expression of American patriotism.

"Most Fourth of July festivities don't actually represent the true cultural fabric of our country," says Jason M-B Wells, the chief executive of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce and head organizer of the event. "Half of San Diego itself is comprised of people of some kind of Mexican descent, but still they are very patriotic and very American. This festival is a chance to celebrate America for what it really is: diversity."

The call for a more inclusive rendering of the holiday shows. Hot dogs and apple pies have been traded in for white tents selling authentic Mexican tacos, tamales and chilaquiles. The typical canon of Springsteen classics and flag-waving country anthems has been replaced by the spirited sounds of Western Mexican mariachi and more contemporary Latino fusion music. Among the food stalls and vendors is a full-sized Lucha Libre wrestling ring and live graffiti art. Close by, festival-goers pose with a Tijuana Painted Zebra, or Zonkey—a common tourist attraction of Tijuana.
zonkey

Yet the festival still holds true to more mainstream Fourth of July traditions. The day closes with a classic red, white and blue fireworks show, and everyone and everything seems dressed in American stars and stripes.

"I wear red, white, and blue today and have an American flag flying at my home because I love this country," says Estella Corona, a volunteer for the San Ysidro-based nonprofit Hearts & Hands. As a Tijuana native who has called San Ysidro home for over fifty years, the unique nature of the Independence Festival at the Border speaks to her own binational identity.

"I was born in Mexico, but my children were born here. I have taught them to love Mexico because that's where I'm from, and to also be proud to be Americans."
mariachis

San Ysidro's ambassadorial identity is the fruit of its long history as a link between Mexico and the United States. For millions of annual tourists, it is home to the gigantic Las Americas Outlet malls and historic Rancho Period monuments. For its thousands of locals, it is a place cherished for its art, culture and strong sense of community.

Media coverage of San Ysidro, though, has been overshadowed by illegal immigration and cartel activity, reducing the community to a caricature of crime and violence. Jason Wells, the lead organizer of the festival, says he hopes the event will challenge this prejudicial reputation.

"It's unfair to pin the issues of the border crossing on the San Ysidro community as a whole," Wells says. "This event really builds on the benefits of San Ysidro's location on the border, as much of the border crossing is a positive thing for our community. There are so many ways to talk about San Ysidro without mentioning drugs or tunnels."
all american girl

Wells' attitude towards contentious border-politics and their affect on public perception is shared by the Mexican mural artist who goes by the name "Mex," whose live graffiti art is a highlight of the festival.

"Here at the border, you can't choose a side because we are a part of everything," says Mex. "You have to be open to everything and anybody."

Building off this philosophy, the finished mural shows an American bald eagle on one side of a large, rectangular canvas, and a Kumeyaay style skull on the other. (The Kumeyaay are the indigenous, Yuman-language speaking people of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.)

"The Kumeyaay are the original keepers of the land," says Mex. "We do live here in the U.S., but this is their land, and we give our respect to them."

This representation of the coexistence of cultures, and the reverence of past and present, is what Mex describes as the crux of the day's celebration.

"Here, we are both Mexican and American. The eagle and the skull together is what we're about. There are no walls, and there shouldn't be no walls. We are all the same human race. And through the art and through the music, it's a free world."
mex graffiti art

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