Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16, 2018
Downtown West Chicago
West Chicago’s Viva Mexico Independence Day Festival produced by the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage with funding from the City of West Chicago, is yet another event that speaks to the character and spirit of “One West Chicago”, a City initiative that honors and celebrates West Chicago’s diversity.
The event, which is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, September 15 & 16, 2018, is staged in the heart of the community’s downtown along Main Street, and promises an authentic experience of West Chicago’s Mexican heritage through music, dance, costumes, food and much more.
“‘One West Chicago is a call to action to broaden participation in community leadership, invest in long-term relationships and form partnerships with all members of the West Chicago community to reinforce that there is one West Chicago, made stronger by its diversity. This event provides these opportunities and brings a greater understanding and appreciation for our rich culture,” said Mayor Ruben Pineda.
The following are some of the elements included in the Viva Mexico Independence Day Festival this year:
Mariachi Aztlan from the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley Return
One of the biggest highlights last year was the live music performed by the leading educational mariachi programs from across the country and Mexico. This spectacular multi-Mariachi concert returns on Saturday, September 15, 2018, with all day Mariachi from 1:00 – 10:00 p.m., and will feature groups from middle school programs to top level university ensembles.
Everyone loves a parade and the Viva Mexico Independence Day Parade on Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. will not disappoint. The sounds and colors of culture and heritage come alive, as does the spirit and pride of those in the parade line-up or cheering from the sidelines. Among the entries included in the parade, as well as scheduled in performances downtown following the parade, are the Leman Middle School Folklorico Dance Group, and elaborately costumed Chinelos dancers and Oaxaca Giants.
El Grito de la Independencia
Another centerpiece of the Viva Mexico Independence Day Festival is the reenactment of El Grito de la Independencia or The Cry of Independence. El Grito originally took place on the morning of September 16, 1810, when Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo from the small town of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato Mexico began ringing church bells to signal that Mexican Patriots had freed Pro-Independence inmates from jail, beginning the revolt against the Spanish rule of Mexico. This was the start of the Mexican War of Independence.
Today in West Chicago, the moving reenactment of El Grito includes the ringing of an old train bell acquired at Koehles’ Trading Post in the early sixties by the late Lorenzo Covarrubias of West Chicago, who was known as the “Patron de la Campana” (Patron of the Bell). Mr. Covarrubias came to the United States from Mexico in 1949 bringing his family in 1955 and settling in West Chicago in 1957. The bell is on loan to the City for use in this annual celebration of independence and freedom. El Grito will take place on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
A 13’ Piñata
Now an established tradition at West Chicago’s Viva Mexico Independence Day Festival is a 13’ burro (donkey) piñata created by West Chicago resident Victor Arellano. It was built to attract the community and its neighbors to the celebration. The burro (donkey) was chosen because it’s a traditional Mexican icon during the Christmas holiday. It represents “Las Posadas”, where children re-create the voyage Mary & Joseph took while searching for an inn riding a “burro”.
Those who have attended the event for the past couple of years will remember the thrill of seeing the piñata hoisted up by crane approximately 30’ feet in the air, followed by a countdown to the release of many pounds of candies and treats for the kids in attendance by Mayor Ruben Pineda.
The complete schedule of West Chicago’s Viva Mexico Independence Day Festival may be found at top right. A special event video that contains the yearlong schedule of West Chicago events may be found on the City’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/CityofWestChicago.
About the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage
The mission of the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage is as follows: “To encourage and promote our heritage through cultural, ethnic and civic activities designed to educate our Mexican community and the community at large.”