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Cinco de Mayo 2014 celebrated in Chicago and throughout the US

Cinco de Mayo 2014 parade in Chicago
Cinco de Mayo 2014 parade in Chicago
Scott Paulson

Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla which occurred on May 5, 1862, and it commemorates the pride and valor of the Mexican people. Though the occurrence was in Mexico, the holiday has become more and more American in recent years, according to a Huffington Post article on Friday. While the actual date of the holiday hits Monday this year, the festivities celebrating the holiday run throughout the weekend prior to Cinco de Mayo (May 5) as well.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn at the Cinco de Mayo parade in Chicago's Little Village on May 4, 2014
Photo by Scott Paulson

On the Southwest of Chicago, for example, in the heart of the Hispanic community along 26th Street at Kostner Street, there is an all weekend-long carnival celebration. The carnival continues through May 5 – Monday – to include the actual holiday. Additionally, there was the city’s huge Cinco de Mayo parade on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m.

The parade stretched the length of Cermak Road from Woods Street west to Kedzie Avenue through the northern portion of the Little Village neighborhood. Among the honored guests, fronting the parade was Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. As he stood with Hispanic politicians at the front line of the parade at Damen and Cermak just prior to the parade stepping off, he was talking to his fellow-politicians rather than pressing flesh – as one would think he would be doing six months prior to his election date. Yet, he was cordial when approached and responded to comments from the public.

This reporter's comment to the governor was "Go easy on the Illinois teachers." Quinn responded, "Don't worry about that!" Naturally, Illinois' teachers pensions are being threatened at this time in the state due to past misuses of the funds by politicians and political forces. The topic is big in the Land of Lincoln right now.

Besides the politicians, there was – as one would expect in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood – a tremendous police presence, likely for safety in the crime-ridden area of Chicago as well as for crowd control. In spite of the mild temperatures in the mid-50s and the clear skies, there weren’t the throngs of people along the parade route that one might expect. Besides the political and police presence, there were many floats, marching units, and vehicles advertising everything from ComEd to McDonalds to local Mexican restaurants and more.

As of step-off time, there was no sign of United States Rep. Luis Gutierrez – the highest politically-ranked of Chicago’s Latino community – at the parade. Bruce Rauner, Gov. Quinn’s competitor in the November election for Illinois governor was not found in the line-up of the parade. Additionally, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not present as of the starting time of the parade. There was competition for the parade's attention in Chicago on Sunday, however. There was a parade honoring fallen police officers on Sunday as well. It is not known if the absent politicians attended that parade instead. For certain, Supt. of Chicago Police Garry McCarthy was at the other parade.

This past week had a great number of events going on in Chicago according to the Chicago Tribune. Besides the two parades on Sunday for Cinco de Mayo and for Chicago’s fallen officers, there were great theater and concert events going on – including engagements in Chicago’s loop with Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. Naturally, with the Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox all engulfed in their seasons, it was a busy week for Chicago sports as well.

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