TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Friday marked Mexican Independence Day and the second day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

From September 15 to October 15, there are events all across Tucson to celebrate and honor Hispanic culture.

Friday, the oldest, continuously operating Mexican restaurant in the country celebrated a major anniversary, 100 years in business.

″I think it’s an amazing testament to people who loved what they did. I think there’s two women involved, my great Tia Monica and my mom Carlotta who basically ran this company for the last 50 years each. They had two 50 year runs, we’re the new blood and it’s just been a wonderful response from this community,” said Ray Flores, CEO of Si Charro.

It’s a massive milestone many businesses never see. From Flores’s Tia Monica starting as a caterer back in 1922, to the invention of the Chimichanga putting El Charro on the map, to now, it’s been a memorable journey.

There have also been several bumps in the road along the way.

″For me the biggest challenge was going through COVID as a restaurant. I can’t imagine what she went through. She went through prohibition, she went through the great depression, she went through world wars. But I think COVID for us in most recent memory was an absolutely terrifying time for our family businesses,” Flores said.

Flores says El Charro has mostly recovered from the pandemic and it’s thanks to their dedicated staff and the Tucson community that they were able to make it to 100 years. El Charro has also helped open the door for other local businesses to thrive. This Hispanic Heritage Month, Visit Tucson is highlighting many of these businesses through Viva Tucson.

″It’s a comprehensive campaign that really has a bunch of overarching events. More than 30 events are happening during the month to celebrate Hispanic heritage in Tucson,” explained Megan Evans, Director of Communications for Visit Tucson.

It’s the first year for Viva Tucson and it focuses on Tucson’s deep-rooted Hispanic heritage. You’ll find a list of everything from mariachis, to folklorico dancers, to classic Mexican eats to help you celebrate all month long.

″The importance of having an event like Viva Tucson is that it really showcases what is integral to our identity here. Hispanic heritage is part of everything we do here. It’s part of the food, it’s part of the arts and culture, it’s part of the architecture,” Evans said.

You can find a full list of Hispanic Heritage Month events here.

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