SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - With a fiesta full of food, flags, and Folklorico dancers, the House of Mexico celebrated its grand opening on Saturday night at Balboa Park.
"It feels wonderful," says House of Mexico President Blanca Gonzalez. "It's so great to have the House of Mexico finally open after so many years."
It took decades of advocacy before the City Council finally approved plans for the House of Mexico in 2016. The Council gave the go-ahead to build nine new "houses" in Balboa Park's International Village. The House of Mexico is the third to open formally.
Even after the Council approval, organizers spent five years raising enough money to fund construction. When the Coronavirus Pandemic forced them to halt fundraising events in 2020, a series of grants and loans got the House across the finish line.
"The way I look at it is that chapter one is complete," says Arturo M. Castro, the Chairman of the House of Mexico Building Committee. "Now we start chapter two, which is to talk about the programs."
The first program went on display Saturday night, featuring artwork and cultural artifacts from the State of Nayarit. House organizers say they plan to showcase different states and indigenous people from all across Mexico. They hope that gives San Diegans a better understanding of the entire country, rather than just what they see along the border.
"We want to spotlight the different regions so that people know more about the art, the culture, and the music," says Gonzalez. "We have a lot of people in San Diego with Mexican heritage. We have people who just love Mexico. And we want to be here for them."
As part of the celebration, City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn read a proclamation declaring October 9, 2021, as "House of Mexico Day" across San Diego. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Councilwoman Vivian Moreno, and Councilman Raul Campillo joined him. State Senator Ben Hueso also attended the event, as did Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas.
"It has taken far too long to get here," said Mayor Gloria. "But as the Mayor of this great city, I'm overjoyed this day has finally arrived."
Saturday night's event was just a preview for donors and guests. The House of Mexico hopes to open to the public sometime in early November. After waiting this long, Gonzalez hopes people will be able to hold off for a few more weeks.
"It's something that's near and dear to a lot of people's hearts," she says. "So we're happy we're here now."