LITTLE VILLAGE — A three-day festival celebrating Fiestas Patrias, a holiday that marks Mexico’s independence from Spain, is expected to bring nearly 500,000 people to Little Village this weekend, organizers said.
The 29th annual Festival de La Villita, which includes live music, carnival rides and authentic Mexican cuisine, kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday on 26th Street and Kostner Avenue. The fest continues until 10 p.m. Friday and is from 2-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The 26th Street Mexican Independence Parade — the highlight of the weekend — will begin at noon Sunday. The 49th annual parade starts at 26th Street and California and proceeds to Kostner Avenue.
Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who lives in Little Village, will act as the parade’s grand marshal. In March, Garcia won the Democratic primary for the Illinois 4th Congressional District seat currently held by retiring U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
This year’s parade theme, “Families Belong Together,” aims to call attention to “inhuman immigration policies.”
Little Village Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jaime di Paulo said Garcia has fought tirelessly to improve the live of all people.
“Having Chuy serve as this year’s parade marshal is our way of thanking him for being our long serving advocate and friend,” di Paulo said.
According to organizers, Festival de La Villita is one of the largest celebrations of Mexican heritage in the Midwest.
Admission is free, and guests can expect carnival rides, kids activities, live music and Mexican food and drinks from local restaurants.
El Heredero, La Fortaleza de Tierra Caliente, Nuevo Ejemplo, La Fe de Tierra Caliente, Grupo Aline, Los Chakras del Terre are among more than 20 entertainers taking the stage during the three day weekend.
A portion of the proceeds will support community programs run by the Little Village Chamber of Commerce.