After two groups held separate parades and festivals for Fiestas Patrias, celebrating Mexican independence in September, Waukegan officials decided to get a head start by hosting events for 2024.
David Motley, the city’s public relations director, said this year the city wanted a parade and festival for Fiestas Patrias. The application period for special events began on January 9 and two groups arrived for both events.
City officials approved the request of Juntoz NFP, a local nonprofit, to organize the 2024 parade, and the request of Puro Futbol to manage the festival during a meeting Thursday at City Hall, to let both groups know what is happening. expected of them.
When the application period opened, Motley said Juntoz and Puro Futbol were looking to host both events. Juntoz’s parade application came just before Puro Futbol. The order was reversed for the festival.
“They arrived within moments of each other for both,” Motley said. “Juntoz NFP arrived first at the parade and Puro Futbol first at the festival.”
Motley said representatives from both groups met with Mayor Ann Taylor and heads of city departments involved in special events — including the police department, fire department, public works and others — to ensure that everyone involved understood their obligations.
“This was a kickoff meeting to make sure everyone was going to cooperate and collaborate with each other for these events,” he said. “We want everything to go well. »
The progress of the preparations as well as the level of cooperation remain unresolved. Margaret Carrasco, who was the head organizer of Fiestas Patrias, which held the other parade and festival last year, said Monday she plans to get involved again.
Carrasco requested a fee waiver Jan. 3 to use the parking lot at Waukegan High School’s Washington campus, as well as those at Robert Abbott and Miguel Juarez middle schools, to hold a parade.
The Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 Board of Education approved the use and waiver of the fee at its Jan. 23 meeting. Nick Alatzakis, District 60’s communications director, said in an email last week that approval was contingent on the city agreeing on the parade organizer.
Before she could apply to hold the parade, Carrasco said she had to secure the staging areas. Otherwise, the request would not be valid. Motley said Monday the city has not received any requests for a Fiestas Patrias parade or festival.
“We have only received requests from Juntoz NFP and Puro Futbol to organize a parade and a festival, and there will not be several parades or festivals on this date in the city territory,” he said.
Oscar Zepeda, owner of Puro Futbol, said Monday that he was planning the festival but was concerned about the three Juntoz executives.
Elizabeth Marrero, one of Juntoz’s directors, declined to comment by email.
Zepeda said the purpose of Fiestas Patrias is to celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1810, in a demonstration of Mexican culture and customs, so that the younger generation appreciates its traditions.
“It should unify the community,” he said. “The goal is to keep our traditions and culture alive. We want the next generation to know what it’s all about. We want to do something good for the community.
The parade is scheduled to begin at noon Sept. 15, heading east on Washington Street from Butrick Street to downtown, according to the application. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the city parking lot near Sheridan Road and Water Street.
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