Father and sons celebrate their Latino heritage with one of first public concerts in months

COVID and the Classroom

AFFTON, Mo. – A celebration of Mexican Independence Day was in full force today at 9 Mile Garden in Affton.

Two generations of Latinos celebrated with their first public concert since the pandemic began.

Mariachi Mendez STL is made up of two brothers from Madison County, IL and their father, originally from Mexico.

21-year-old Juan said, “This is family. This is right here,” he said while touching his heart.

His 17-year-old brother Jose added, “I’m just trying to make my family proud, doing what I love to do.”

They joined their 56-year-old father Manuel Mendez who said, “I’m happy because my sons are with me you know and playing Mexican music. This is the best.”

They’re celebrating Mexican Independence Day today, not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo. Today’s holiday celebrates a victory that took 13 years of war for the Mendez’s ancestors to win.

Juan added, “A little over 200 years ago. We celebrate the independence from Spain.”

Mariachi Mendez played to their first public crowd in months at 9 Mile Garden in Affton.

Along with the music, food trucks competed in their best taco themed specials with what they called “Taco Bout 2020.” Diners voted for what they thought was the best – but the vote appeared to be unanimous for the Mariachi soundtrack that went along with it.

Juan translated for his father Manuel who said, “It was an honor to interpret the Mexican music here in the St. Louis area.”

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