With Mexican Independence Day celebrations on the horizon, city officials are making preparations for large crowds at numerous events as many festivities return for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the holiday takes place on Sept. 16, many major festivities commemorating Mexican Independence Day will be held this weekend, including the 20th annual Pilsen Mexican Independence Day Parade on Sept. 10 and the 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade on Sept. 11.
City officials touted the parades as some of the largest in the Midwest, with the events drawing as many as 500,000 people to the celebrations.
In response to the large crowds anticipated, police said there will be an increased presence of officers and a caravan task force monitoring activity around Chicago.
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Police said several street closures to accommodate the festivities will be announced, but warned against any street takeovers involving drag racing in the wake of several high-profile incidents in recent months.
A noticeable uptick in caravan-style celebrations was observed in each of the last two years, likely caused by the cancellation of official events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased traffic is expected in all parts of Chicago, with particularly large crowds anticipated in Little Village, Pilsen and downtown areas. Eric Carter, first deputy superintendent of CPD, said that each district's commander has a plan in place for traffic mitigation, but did not provide further details.
The 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade, the city's largest event connected to the holiday, will be returning at full-scale this year following a two-year hiatus. The parade is expected to begin at 12 p.m. Sunday and will travel along 26th Street from the historic arch at Albany Avenue to Kostner Avenue.
The Pilsen Mexican Independence Day Parade steps off at 12 p.m. on Saturday from 19th Street and Newberry Avenue before traveling west on 19th Street to Wolcott Avenue.