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October 30, 2013

Locals and Legends Entertain Thousands at Festival Cardenas: A Model For Community Enrichment through the Arts

Written by  Annabel Osberg
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Los Tigres del Norte Los Tigres del Norte Photo by Annabel Osberg

Many businesses talk about giving back to their communities. Cardenas Markets actually does so.  Every year, the San Bernardino County-based grocery chain thanks the community for its patronage by inviting them, gratis, to Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway to enjoy a day filled with music and food at “Festival Cardenas.”

Entering the seventh annual festival on Sunday, attendees were greeted by workers serving generous portions of traditional Mexican pastries from elaborate displays, including a Día de los Muertos altar; a Rosca de Reyes so large it spanned several tables; and a monstrous Halloween cake decorated to look like a graveyard. The grandiosity of the food offerings matched the caliber of the entertainment lineup, which transitioned from up-and-coming artists to some of the most illustrious stars in the regional Mexican music world.

A cartoonish singing rooster called “El Chichicuilote” opened the stage. Next up were: Torres Musical, an energetic norteño group comprised of siblings from Ontario; Daisy Sanchez, an elegant ranchera singer; and the popular banda singer El Chalinillo.

Between performers, local personalities made cameo appearances while “DJ Virtual” of San Bernardino threw hundreds of CD’s into the audience. There was never a boring moment.

Lunch was served in the form of large pieces of a 1,000-foot burrito created by Cardenas employees.

Headliners dominated the afternoon. Graciela Beltrán’s spectacular performance proved why many consider her “The Queen of Banda Music.” Roberto Tapia charmed audience members with a mix of his hit love ballads and narcocorridos.

The legendary Los Tigres del Norte concluded the festival, singing as many hits as possible from their 45-year career. Their dynamism was evident onstage in their creative rhythms, socially critical lyrics, and venerable bearing, making it easy to see why they remain at the top of their genre.

By five o’clock, I couldn’t believe eight hours had passed so quickly. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

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Special thanks to our conference host, Copper Mountain College!




Drs. Ernest & Dorothy Garcia


Arts Sustainers

Randy Polumbo

KOA Corporation Planning & Engineering

San Bernardino Art Association

The Ranch Projects Publishing

Joshua Tree Music Festival


Arts Advocates

Paulson Orthodontics

Mojave Desert Land Trust

Cultural Planning Group

Gruen Associates

The Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art

The Ontario Museum of History and Art

The Community Foundation

The Noah Purifoy Foundation

Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology

Pappy & Harriets

Bobby Furst 

The Joshua Tree Inn


Arts Friends

Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR)

Chaffey College, School of Visual & Performing Arts

High Desert Test Sites

Elwood & Associates

Inlandia Institute


Special thanks to Copper Mountain College for our hosting the conference this year!









The Garcia Center for the Arts
536 W. 11th Street
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Tel: 909.381.1900

mailing address:

5500 University Parkway
Visual Arts Building, Rm. 308
San Bernardino, CA 92407

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