PILSEN — Fiesta del So, Pilsen’s largest festival, will return for its 49th anniversary next month, after going virtual last year because of the pandemic.
Fiesta del Sol is a four-day festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across the Midwest. It will be held July 29-Aug. 1 on Cermak Road between Ashland Avenue and Morgan Street.
The festival celebrates Latino heritage and culture. This year, in addition to music, food and carnival rides, the festival will have COVID-19 vaccines, officials said Thursday.
“Last year proved to be difficult for many of us, including our families and children,” festival co-chair Alejandro Garcia said. “Regardless, we’ve demonstrated to be a resilient community.
“Many of us experienced losses and challenges over the past year, and some may still feel wary about coming out; but, rest assured, we are ready to serve you by having a safe in-person festival.”
Throughout the week leading up to the festival, there will be a university round-table expo, immigration expo and resources for housing and jobs, co-chair Blanca Acevedo said.
This year’s theme is United on the Journey to Justice and Equity.
Chicago and the rest of Illinois moved into Phase 5 of reopening Friday, allowing festivals and other large events without capacity restrictions.
Festival organizers will encourage attendees to wear masks and stay socially distant. Sanitation stations will be placed throughout the festival, organizers said.
To drive up vaccinations among Latinos and school-age children 12 and older, organizers have partnered with Alivio Medical Center to offer attendees vaccines.
“We have made great strides in the city in this battle with COVID, but we know there is still more work to do,” Alivio CEO Esther Corpuz said. “Kids that are going back to schools — we want to reopen in the fall as safe as we can. And we feel that making [vaccines] accessible to our community is one way we can do that.”
To incentivize vaccinations, Alivio will raffle items and will give a ticket for a free ride to people who get shots.
The outdoor event will run 5-10 p.m. July 29, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 30-31 and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 1.
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