CHICAGO — Thousands lined 26th Street in the Little Village neighborhood Saturday for the 52nd annual Mexican Independence Day Parade.

“The reason I like it so much is cause it’s where I live and we always like coming here because it’s a fun time for my whole family,” said Brian Martinez, a spectator at the parade.

Vibrant colors featured in the Mexican flag — red, white and green — coated the streets along the parade route, which have drawn spectators from all across the country for years due to the reputation of their decorative designs.

“This is the first time we’ve come,” said Inez Carrizales, a spectator visiting from Florida. “We’ve seen [the parade] on TikTok [before], so we decided to come.”

This year’s parade is extra special for those celebrating. This year’s Mexican Independence Day celebration marks the first time in Chicago history the parade has been held on a Saturday, while also taking place on the actual date of Mexican Independence Day.

Mexico gained independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810.

“I just want my girls to have a good time,” said Tina Santiago, another spectator at the parade. “They haven’t been to Mexico yet, so that’s where we are going in December and I want them to get a little bit of the vibe.”

Spectators waved flags and wore traditional outfits, while Mariachi bands, folkloric dancers and dozens of floats dotted the festive parade.

“I really love the folkloric dresses and the dances and the horses,” said parade spectator Emmanuel Garza. “They look beautiful. Everything just reminds me of my small town in Mexico.”

Downtown Gridlock?

Due to large car caravans, city officials closed the Central Business District Friday night from Division to 18th Street and from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Halsted Street.

According to a press release from the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEMC) Saturday morning, the Central Business District is closed again to vehicular traffic and will be closed intermittently throughout Saturday night.

Residents who live or work in the affected area and all critical care workers will be allowed access at one of the access points below:

·         Halsted/Division

·         Halsted/Chicago

·         Halsted/Washington

·         Halsted/Madison

·         Halsted/Jackson

·         Division/LaSalle

·         Roosevelt/Union

·         18th/State

·         18th/Michigan

·         18th/Indiana

The OEMC said they will continue to communicate and coordinate resources with the Chicago Police Department throughout the weekend to manage traffic and public safety.