STOCKTON — The Downtown Stockton Alliance and the Mexican Heritage Center teamed up to celebrate Mexican Independence Day on Friday at Janet Leigh Plaza.

The celebration was held as part of the Downtown Stockton Alliance’s Waterfront Fridays, a series of weekly public events held in the plaza outside the Regal Cinemas Stockton City Centre 16 and IMAX movie theater. Downtown Stockton Alliance CEO Cindi Fargo and Special Events Manager Emily Oestreicher said Waterfront Fridays was designed to draw people to the heart of the city on Friday evenings.

“One of the goals we have is to work with existing communities that are already doing good things downtown,” Oestreicher said. “There’s so much talent in this city, and it’s so nice to work with an organization like the Mexican Heritage Center and the city to put on an event like this for the community.”

Dozens gathered in the plaza Friday to enjoy the sights and sounds. Women and girls in colorful gowns danced to traditional Mexican music while vendors displayed arts, crafts, clothing and other items. Food was served inside the Brick & Mortar building.

Gracie Madrid, president of the Mexican Heritage Center, said she was pleased to see the community observing Mexican Independence Day.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “This is the start of a big celebration.”

— Contact reporter Jason Anderson at (209) 546-8279 or Follow him at and on Twitter @Stockton911.