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Chicago prepares for Mexican Independence Day celebrations, parade

The city is preparing for plenty of celebration next weekend, including the annual 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade, considered one of the Midwest's largest parades

The Mexican Independence Day festivities will soon begin in Chicago.

The city is preparing for plenty of celebration next weekend, including the annual 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade, considered one of the Midwest's largest parades.

Here's what to know:

Mexican Independence Day Parade

This year, Telemundo Chicago will offer a broadcast of the highly anticipated event, which is scheduled to begin at noon on Sept. 16.

This year's parade will be special in that it takes place on the actual date of Mexican Independence Day and on a Saturday for the first time ever.

It will feature a theme of "Tu Mexico, Tu Chicago," with each Mexican state represented.

Penelope Menchaca, host of Telemundo’s popular national morning news and entertainment program “Hoy Día,” will be the Parade Marshal for the 2023 event.

"We are thrilled to partner with Telemundo Chicago, and having Penelope Menchaca as our Parade Marshal adds a special touch to this iconic event," said Jennifer Aguilar, executive director of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce.

Telemundo Chicago, along with the NBC Chicago News 24/7 streaming channel, will carry the parade live from 12-1 p.m. CT. (NOTE: The parade will continue to be carried live on the NBC Chicago News streaming channel until 1:30 p.m. Details here)

“We are honored to partner with our friends at The Little Village 26th Street Area Chamber of Commerce on this very special joint venture,” Carmen Vega director of special projects and community relations for NBC Chicago, said in a statement. “Telemundo Chicago prides itself on being the voice of Chicago’s Hispanic community and we look forward to delivering expanded, live coverage of the beloved ‘Mexican Independence Day Parade’ to our viewers on multiple platforms.”

Telemundo Chicago’s Alfonso Gutiérrez, Anabel Monge and Héctor Lozano will be the among the featured talent covering this year’s parade.

Public Safety

In recent years, Mexican Independence Day celebrations have led to a number of street closures in the city as revelers gathered.

"Mexican Independence Day is a day of commemoration of culture and the City of Chicago encourages those celebrating to do so safely and responsibly," the city said in a statement. "We remind those participating in events to be respectful of their neighbors and communities, as well as workers at critical facilities such as hospitals. They should also be mindful of first responders and emergency vehicles that are required to pass through areas where celebrations are occurring citywide." 

The city said safety protocols will be in place for commemoration activities, including traffic management.

"The City is taking the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all residents around Mexican Independence Day commemoration activities," the city's statement read. "The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has been preparing for the upcoming Mexican Independence Day celebrations. In addition to regular meetings to coordinate resources, CPD and OEMC will be working throughout the weekend to manage traffic and public safety and OEMC will activate the Emergency Operations Center to monitor events citywide. Car caravans that create a threat to public safety will not be tolerated. We also remind everyone that drag racing and drifting are not only illegal, but dangerous. Anyone in violation of the ordinance will be held accountable."

What is Mexican Independence Day?

Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16 and marks the anniversary of the country's declared independence from Spain.

While it has been routinely confused with Cinco de Mayo by some in the U.S., the two days are very different.

According to the Library of Congress, Sept. 16 marks the moment in 1810 when "Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the largely Indian and mestizo congregation of his small Dolores parish church and urged them to take up arms and fight for Mexico’s independence from Spain.

"His 'El Grito de Dolores,' or Cry of Dolores, which was spoken—not written—is commemorated on September 16 as Mexican Independence Day," the library states.

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