Fiesta Mexicana Sept. 16 at Levings Park in Rockford

Staff Report

Fiesta Mexicana, a celebration of Mexican Independence, will be from noon to 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, at Levings Park, 1420 S. Pierpont Ave., Rockford. The event is presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Northern Illinois (HCCNI).

The civic event is expected to attract 1,000 to 2,500 people. For the first time, the Rockford community will host the Consul General de Mexico to re-enact the official Grito de Dolores.

Sunday’s Fiesta Mexicana celebration will feature live music, folkloric dance groups, and the official queen and her court.

In addition, visitors will be able to purchase food tickets to sample traditional Mexican fare provided by the Feria del Mole cooking contest, purchase raffle tickets for two round-trip fares to Mexico City, and experience the main attraction — the official re-enactment of the Grito de Dolores by the Consul General de Mexico.

Consuls from several other Latin American countries have also been invited to attend the event.

Prior to the event, HCCNI will host a Preview Party at Cliffbreakers Resort, 700 W. Riverside Blvd., Saturday, Sept. 15. Guest speaker will be U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. Tickets for this invitation-only event are $50.

Each year on the night of Sept. 15, the President of Mexico re-enacts the “cry of independence” by ringing the bells of the National Palace in Mexico City. A similar celebration, albeit on a smaller scale, is commemorated by Mexicans all over the world. The Consul General de Mexico, from every Consular around the world, rings a Replica of the Dolores Bell and recites the traditional words.

Many people commonly mistake Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day. Actually, Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) commemorates the Mexican victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

From the Sept. 12-18, 2012, issue

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