­¡Viva Las Vegas!

Many of Mexico’s best performers will be in Las Vegas to celebrate Mexican Independence Day—that’s 16 de Septiembre, not Cinco de Mayo—and thousands of tourists from Mexico and the southwestern U.S. are coming the Valley to enjoy the festivities. It’s a sorely needed boost for the local economy.

“The countless events and concerts being hosted throughout the week prove Las Vegas is the premiere destination to celebrate this special occasion,” says Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority.  The celebrations usually last a week long, making the holiday an even bigger money-maker than Chinese New Years.

On the calendar for concerts and shows on the Strip are Luis Miguel, Alejandro Fernandez, Marco Antonio Solis and Ana Gabriel.  And boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz will square off in the annual 16 de Septiembre fight at the MGM Grand—always a favorite, both live and on pay-per-view, with devoted Hispanic fight fans.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Consulate of Mexico will host a civic celebration Sept. 15 at the Clark County Government Center, featuring Mariachis, food and equestrian events all leading up to the midnight El Grito, repeating the declaration of Mexican Independence by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo and thousands screaming “Viva Mexico!” Last year, more than 5,000 people, tourists and locals alike, attended the festivities.

The Mexican Consulate’s Fiestas Patrias begins at 6 p.m., Sept. 15, Clark County Government Center 500 S. Grand Central parkway.

Free tickets can be picked-up at  the Mexican Consulate offices, 823 South 6th Street. There is also a free event at Boulevard Mall in the Macy’s Parking Lot from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sept. 15.