Festival de La Villita celebrates its 26th year

Festival de La Villita celebrates its 26th year

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Chicago is set to celebrate Festival de La Villita next month. The three-day festival commemorates Mexico’s independence from Spanish rule as well as the Mexican community in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.

Now in its 26th year, the 2014 festival will run from Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 and will feature over 100 vendors, including neighborhood restaurants, plus live music, kids’ activities, carnival rides, and arts and crafts. The festival is the largest celebration of Mexican culture in the Midwest.

“We will be having a variety of food from different parts of Mexico, along with many other fun activities,” said a release from the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, one of the event’s sponsors.

The 45th Annual 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade will close out the festival on Sept. 14. The Parade starts at noon and the route is on 26th Street, from Albany to Kostner. In addition to the Little Village parade, Pilsen and the Loop will both host Mexican Independence Day Parades on Sept. 13 at noon. That Pilsen parade route goes from Newberry and 18th Street, west on 18th Street to Wolcott. Meanwhile, the Loop parade is on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe.

The parades commemorate “El Grito de Dolores,” the cry that began in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato in Mexico, on Sept. 16, 1810. The cry was a declaration of independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Jesuit-trained Mexican priest who rebelled against the Spanish elites and is considered the start of the Mexican War of Independence.

On average, the Chicago parade commemorating Hidalgo y Costilla’s declaration attracts about 150,000 people to the neighborhood each year.

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