The City of Fresno is a community of cultural celebrations, whether it is honoring the customs of its diverse population, relishing the sophistication of stage performances or enjoying the natural beauty of its land through festivals.
Fresno has an abundance of cultural activities that pay homage to the many cultures, faiths and interests that make Fresno a vibrant community.
The Mexican Independence Day celebration is one such event. The annual autumn celebration includes lively mariachi music and plenty of authentic Mexican cuisine. The Hmong New Year celebration in Fresno is one of the largest cultural events relating to the Hmong in the United States, and more than 150,000 people have attended over a six-year span. Each October, thousands come out to enjoy the Big Fresno Fair — complete with entertainment, horse racing, plenty of dining selections and agricultural and cultural exhibits.
The Fresno Convention Center is the site of many popular festivals and events, including the Cesar Chavez Celebration and the Viva El Mariachi Festival.
There also are museums dedicated to the arts, such as the Fresno Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and several that showcase a particular heritage.
At just about any given time during the year, those who enjoy the theater and music will find a live performance at one of the many venues throughout town. The Tower District is home to several theaters, including the historic Tower Theater, the luxurious crown jewel of the Tower District. Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater offers a superb atmosphere for great entertainment and a meal. Visitors to the Second Space Theater, an intimate 150-seat theater also in the Tower District, can enjoy performances by the Good Company Players.
Performances by big-name celebrities can be enjoyed at the SaveMart Center on the campus of California State University, Fresno. This indoor arena hosts a variety of nationally renowned music acts and is home of the Fresno State Falcons.
California State University’s theater also hosts numerous student-produced, multicultural-casted performances. Fresno City College’s theater is a virtual showcase for students’ work in dance, music and drama, and the college also serves as the host of the Fresno City
The renowned Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, called the “flagship of Fresno’s cultural life,” performs at the William Saroyan Theater downtown, as well as for the Fresno International Grand Opera and the Fresno Ballet.
For those who enjoy taking a more active approach to cultural events, there is the Fresno Tango Society (where members learn the famous Argentine tango), the Fresno Audubon Society (which works to promote an appreciation of birds and other wildlife), the Fresno Dixieland Society (which works to promote Dixieland traditional music) and the Fresno Folklore Society — a non-profit corporation founded for the purpose of preserving folk arts (especially traditional music) in the San Joaquin Valley.
The Fresno Arts Council is one of the driving forces behind the cultural events in the city. A private, non-profit organization established in 1979 by local art organizations and interested individuals, the Council works to create a voice for the arts in the central San Joaquin Valley and enrich people’s lives through the arts.
The Council sponsors several activities and events, including the Fresno Blues Festival and a Folk & Traditional Arts program. With the cooperation of city staff, the Council developed a program in 1992 that offers exhibit opportunities at the City Hall for amateur and professional artists, community arts groups and organizations, local schools and senior citizens.