Photos by Alex V Hernandez
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]unday, Sept. 13, marked the last day of Festival de La Villita, a colorful festival which celebrated Mexico’s independence from Spain.
The three-day festival took place on Little Village’s historic 26th Street. Along 26th Street, before the Festival’s entrance on Kostner Avenue, vendors set up their shops, selling accessories such as bracelets and bags, while other vendors sold duritos, chicharrones and elotes. Groups of families gathered along these local vendors, looking at their items before being drawn to the loud, upbeat music coming west of Kostner Avenue.
Inside the Festival, the party atmosphere was alive. Visitors were immediately greeted by a dance party, where people dressed in intricately patterned and vibrant costumes urged bystanders to dance with them. Pulling in members, and having some eagerly participate, festival goers clapped, cheered and took pictures.
On the south end of 26th Street, a Ferris wheel and other carnival games lit up the sky, and screams of delight came from carnival riders as they were hoisted into the air. Aside from the classic carnival theme, the Festival added a more authentic taste of home.
As patrons made their way beyond the dance party, booths offering services, food, drinks and information lined either side of the street. Vendors sold clothing, clay pottery and trinkets designed in traditional printed and colorful patterns. Reese’s Candy’s booth attracted kids and parents with sweet teeth, as free samples were given out as well as prizes for a spinning wheel game they hosted. Next door, the XFinity booth offered their own prizes to the ones who were able to land all their bags into a slot.
While music from the main stage played, long lines formed outside of the various food booths such as Juanita’s Mexican Food and La Barca Taconazo, as well as smaller establishments. As steamed sizzled from the grill, lines grew longer as flautas, pambazos and gorditas were exchanged for money. Even police officers in attendance couldn’t help but enjoy the tacos.
Throughout the festival, people were seen holding drawings, caricatures of themselves, and holding the hands of children whose faces were painted. Marcella Gustavo, 7, emerged from the face painting station resembling a smiling butterfly, as her mother Mira Gustavo, 33, smiled back.
“Marcella loves getting her face painted here,” Gustavo said. “It is very fun to come here with my family, be able to eat, dance and celebrate.”
The 26th Annual Festival de La Villita was truly a celebration of family, culture and fun.
This post is also available in: Spanish