A street leading into the Pico Rivera Sports Arena will be renamed “Avenida Vicente FernÃ¡ndez” Friday in honor of the late Mexican ranchera and mariachi star who died at 81 last year and who frequently performed at the venue.
The ceremony will be the second in recent months to rename a street after FernÃ¡ndez — an international star who, over six decades, won three Grammy Awards, nine Latin Grammys and 14 Lo Nuestro Awards. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
In February, the Los Angeles City Council voted to rename a Boyle Heights street, east of Mariachi Plaza, after FernÃ¡ndez, who died on Dec. 12.
Friday’s renaming ceremony in Pico Rivera — which will include a sign unveiling — will take place at 10 a.m. at the corner of Rooks Road and what, until now, has been known as Sports Arena Drive. It’s the primary entrance road to the 5,000- to 6,200-seat arena.
FernÃ¡ndez, known as “El Chente,” performed at the venue numerous times, donning his trademark charro outfit and wide sombrero, always drawing thousands.
Vicente FernÃ¡ndez Jr. is scheduled to appear at Friday’s dedication, along with Mayor Monica Sanchez, City Council members, Rep. Linda Sanchez, state Sen. Bob Archuleta and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia.
In February, the L.A. City Council approved renaming Bailey Street, from First Street to Pennsylvania Avenue in Boyle Heights, as “Vicente FernÃ¡ndez Street.”
But the move did not come without opposition.
David Silvas, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council’s vice president and chair of its Planning and Land Use Committee, submitted a letter to the City Council’s Public Works Committee to oppose the motion, citing a comment FernÃ¡ndez made during an interview in which he said he refused a liver transplant because he didn’t know if the donor was homosexual or addicted to drugs.
Silvas also noted reports of FernÃ¡ndez being accused of inappropriately touching women.
In his letter, Silvas said naming the street for FernÃ¡ndez would be “insulting and denigrating to the LGBTQ+ community and anyone facing the struggles of addiction” as well as “victims of sexual abuse.”
FernÃ¡ndez retired from the stage in 2016. He died in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he was also born. His death followed months of health issues and an August 2021 injury at his ranch in Guadalajara.