Latino Heritage Celebrated at Fiestas Patrias in Anaheim

Anaheim’s Indoor Market is Orange County’s largest indoor swap meet and one of the county’s most vibrant cultural hubs, but Giselle Lopez says it’s still a hidden gem .

“The Anaheim market has been around for about 30 years,” said Lopez, the site’s marketing coordinator. “We have over 200 suppliers. Some of the vendors have been here for over 20 years…even though we’re right in the middle of Anaheim and in a huge location, a lot of people don’t really know us.

The market is comprised primarily of Latino vendors and small community businesses ranging from food to clothing, retail, party supplies, jewelry and more.

Ana Callejas pours horchata for a customer during the Fiestas Patrias Carnival at the Anaheim Indoor Market.

(Sarahi Apaez)

“We’re known for being a taste of Mexico without leaving Orange County,” Lopez said. “You walk down the aisle here and you feel like you’re walking down callejones in Mexico.”

Besides food and shopping, family entertainment is also offered with Mexican bingo and karaoke on Fridays and shows at La Placita, with folkloric ballet groups, on Saturdays.

“Our marketing team also plans more than one event per month for our community, but these are always free events,” Lopez said. “Last month, we planned a health fair in our parking lot, inviting health organizations from across Orange County to provide health screenings and services to our community.”

Twice a year, the market hosts a carnival, and from September 8-11, the market hosted Fiestas Patrias to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, September 16.

“We always bring this event to market so that our community can enjoy this carnival experience and also to kind of familiarize people with the location of the Anaheim Market. We bring carnival with all these flashy lights so people can stop and say, “What’s this?”

On Saturday, Fiestas Patrias carnival-goers enjoy rides and games at the Anaheim Indoor Market.

On Saturday, Fiestas Patrias carnival-goers enjoy rides and games at the Anaheim Indoor Market.

(Sarahi Apaez)

The event included carnival rides, vendors, food trucks and glass art demonstrations.

“We had a lot of vendors selling artisan products and authentic cultural gifts like handmade bracelets, shoes and clothing,” Lopez said.

Local ballet folk dance groups, such as Nuevo Amanecer, performed on Saturday and Sunday. Univision held a live talent show for local artists on Saturday, with a $1,000 prize and a chance to perform at a future carnival marking the channel’s 60th anniversary.

The folk ballet group Nuevo Amanecer performs on stage at the Fiestas Patrias carnival.

The folk ballet group Nuevo Amanecer performs on stage at the Fiestas Patrias carnival.

(Sarahi Apaez)

Headlining entertainment included El Flamante Acapulco, Furria de Arranque, Sonora Santanera de Oro and Tiranos del Norte.

“We also had one of our vendors do a ceremonial dance and all of our attendees seemed to really welcome them, and it was beautiful,” Lopez said.

Lopez said cultural celebration is at the heart of what Anaheim’s indoor market is all about.

“It is very important that we are proud here after all these years, especially after COVID, because this place is a safe space for Latinos in Anaheim and throughout Orange County where you come and call home,” Lopez said. “It’s great that we can tie it all together by providing our communities with entertainment that makes them proud of who they are.”

Alma Martinez and her daughter Carly Balmaceda dance to live music during the Fiestas Patrias carnival.

Alma Martinez and her daughter Carly Balmaceda dance to live music during the Fiestas Patrias carnival.

(Sarahi Apaez)

The Anaheim Indoor Market is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed on Tuesdays.

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