After a Pandemic Pause, the annual convergence of Mexican art, artisanal vendors and food returns
Viva Frida de Noche will take place at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on Friday October 1st, 2021, from 5:30-10pm. Frida dress code is encouraged. Photo Credit: Viva Frida / Roberto Gonzalez / NuevaFoto Photography

Arturo Hilario
El Observador

Claudia and Mario Barba put on a yearly art event in San Jose that celebrates the many vibrant facets of Mexican culture with an emphasis on one of its most iconic citizens, Frida Kahlo.

The annual Viva Frida event is back after postponing in 2020, as many events did, and for the fifth iteration they aim to bring back the basic principles which have made their event a celebration of Kahlo and the Mexican culture she was part of.

“What we try to do is, to emphasize a lot the culture and the crafts, and more than anything the Mexican culture, gathered all in one place, then we give a tribute to Frida Kahlo, who was a figure that was very loved by Mexicans due to her his story,” says Mario Barba.

Billed as a tribute to Frida Kahlo, the event will include food vendors providing such favorites as tacos and churros, tequila and mezcal tastings, as well as a “Frida Live Painting Challenge” in which some of the most revered local artist, such as Francisco Franco and Moza Arts, will have 30 minutes to paint a Frida inspired work.

A subsequent silent auction for the paintings will follow.

An artisanal vendor’s market and clothing from Mexican designer, and Los Angeles based Paulina Clothing, will round out the festival’s main draws and according to Claudia Barba, “the event includes so much, and each piece represents a special part of our Mexican culture.”

This year the event is scheduled to take place on Friday, October 1, 2021, at the Mexican Heritage Plaza from 5:30- 10pm.

Before the pandemic, the Viva Frida event was all ages, but due to precautionary measures, this year will be 21+. This is due to the alcohol being sold on the premises, which includes tequila and mezcal tastings, and the fact not all children qualify to be vaccinated yet.

“We want to be cautious. The place is outdoors and it is in a garden and in a patio, but regardless the fact is that small children still do not have the vaccine, so it was part of our protocol to protect our little ones,” adds Mario.

So although the Barbas will miss the participation of the children in this year’s festival, they hope those that do come to Viva Frida on October 1st will revel in the tribute to Mexican culture and its gifts to the world, including the thick browed artist who, long after her death, continues to inspire people to not be afraid to be their genuine selves.

And more important than attendance numbers for Mario is that people come and participate in the event, to dress up like Frida or just enjoy the experience alongside the community around them.

 “This is how we want people to get involved, it is very important to us. It is what we want, we want to transmit art to the community and to not forget how complex our culture is”.

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