It was a record-breaking weekend for Cicero’s Mexican Independence Day. More people than ever before swarmed the fairgrounds from September 14-17 to attend the four-day fesitval. So many arrived for the Sunday finale that event organizers had to turn away visitors before the traditional El Grito ceremony in the evening.
“This was a tremendous celebration that exceeded all of our expectations,” said Town President Larry Dominick. “We have known for a long time that Cicero is the place to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, but I don’t think we had ever thought it’d get so big that we wouldn’t be able to take in more guests.”
Jointly organizated by the Cicero Mexican Cultural Committee and the town’s Department of Special Events, the festival included live music, carnival rides, food and many other offerings.
The slate of events began a week earlier with the Senorita Cicero pageant, held at the Cicero Community Center, continuing through Sunday, September 17, with the Mexican Independence Day Parade and the evening’s El Grito ceremony.
Parade goers lined up along a route that snaked through town and the fairgrounds and watched floats, dancers, musicians, and representatives from civic organizations celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain in the early 19th century. The war began with El Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores, on Sept. 16, 1810, when Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bell in Dolores, Mexico (present-day Dolores Hidalgo) as a call to arms for independence. The war between Mexico and Spain lasted just over 11 years, ending with Mexico’s independence in September 1821.
“While this is a celebration of Mexican Independence, it is also a celebration of Cicero,” said Frank Aguilar, one of the co-organizers for the festival. “There are many cultural identities that have called and presently call Cicero home and this is one of the many ways we celebrate our diversity.”
Dominick was joined by Mexican Consul General Carlos Jiménez Macías along with town officials for El Grito, signalling an end to the festival but a continuation of the fall series of events which includes October’s Houby Festival along the “L” strip behind Cermak Road.