While a prophet in his own land may expect no honor, that didn’t deter Jorge Dueñas Peña from returning to his native San Sebastián del Oeste. In some ways, the small mining town in the Sierra Madre hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years, but it is entering a new era of accessibility since the highway from Puerto Vallarta was completed.
Dueñas Peña recently founded the Fundación Cultural del Real y Minas de San Sebastián as a forum for culture and cultural events. These last few years have been witness to a series of concerts that have already become an annual draw. Springtime opens with Mexican music, summer with classical, and winter with choirs and voices. Privately funded, the association continues to look for additional patrons of the arts in its effort to forge an integral identity for San Sebastián as more than just a rest stop or hideaway. Local families only stand to benefit with the possibility of work and recreation for the youth.
The impressive Festival de la Plata (Silver Festival) is scheduled for May 23 - 25. While the focus is on silver, it will also feature regional products, including raicilla, an agave-based alcoholic drink produced in the area. Each of the three days will offer a tour of local attractions: the city itself, with lore, history and locales; Mina de los Reyes (Mine of the Kings); and finally, Real Alta La Bufa, the promontory in the mountains above town.
Why does Dueñas Peña do it? “I do it for the love of my hometown, the people and our history. I want people to stay because they love it here.”