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Celebration of Mexico

“Viva Mexico!” the fervent crowd shouted after Father Miguel Hidalgo proclaimed Mexican independence from Spanish rule. It was a time for celebration.

That was Sept 16, 1810, at his church in Dolores, Guanajuato. Today, the cry of independence--known as “El Grito"--still rings loud and the celebration resumes far beyond Mexican borders.

“Fiestas Patrias Parade and Celebration” will be held Saturday and Sunday at Plaza Park in Oxnard.

The two-day cultural event will feature live continuous entertainment on two stages, a carnival, arts and crafts and a plethora of Mexican dishes prepared at more than 60 food booths.

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The 13th annual event promises to attract throngs, according to Robert Sanchez, president of the Oxnard Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce and festival co-organizer.

“We expect 125,000 people over the two days,” he said. “We have a sizable Mexican community in the area, but this is something that all cultures will enjoy.”

A parade commencing at noon Saturday at 8th Street will kick off the festival. Over 100 entries, including Oxnard’s five high school marching bands, will proceed up C Street.

Two stages--called the Independence stage and the Cultural stage--will offer a variety of entertainment, with mariachi bands, folklorico dance groups, bands playing salsa and Tex-Mex music and more.

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One of the highlights on the Cultural stage will be a re-enactment of the original “El Grito” at 10 p.m. Sunday by Mexican Consul Luis Humberto Ramirez.

“The cry of independence is repeated each year as a symbol of Mexican desire for freedom and self-direction,” Sanchez said.

There is no entrance fee and festivities are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Plaza Park is at 5th and B streets, Oxnard. For more information, call 486-0266.


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