Hundreds of people gathered on Sept. 17 to watch the Fiestas Patrias parade in Oxnard to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
The parade began at 11:30 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. Civilians dressed up in Folklorico dresses, wore sombreros and Mexican soccer jerseys. The sidewalks were overfilled with a chanting audience waving their Mexican flags as the parade began. Vendors sold toys for little kids and popular Mexican snacks such as Fritangas with chilli and lemon.
The parade started off with officers riding in motorcycles, waving to the crowds with big smiles from ear to ear. Children were laughing and cheering as the police officers drove by.
Followed by the officers were marching drummers playing the Mexican Salute National Anthem and people walking with the California flag, U.S. flag and Mexico flag. Traveling in luxury vehicles were five of Los Rienas (queens) that represent different parts of Mexico.
Throughout the parade there were several Folklorico dancers that performed well-known Hispanic dances with mariachi playing behind them. Spanish disc jockeys were speaking and yelling “Viva Mexico!!” and the crowd responded back with the same chant.
Men rode in caballos (horses) and had a banda right behind them. They occasionally stopped for the horses to dance to the music, and the crowd went wild.
Middle school and high school marching bands performed alongside little children around the age of 5 to 7 dressed in full, traditional, charro attire and riding in small donkeys. There were many kids and young teenagers in the parade having a good time and filming their audience with phones and cameras.
Adults were carrying signs asking for donations to help the victims from the recent earthquake throughout Mexico.
As the crowd rose for the ending, they cheered on the last of the performers in the parade and chanted in Spanish.
With the hundreds of people there, fighting for seats and practically on top of each other, the parade showed how much Spanish heritage month means to the people in the Ventura county. Certain parts of the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles also held parades such as Placita Olvera and San Fernando at the beginning of the month of September.
“I had missed the parades here in the valley so my family and I went to the one all the way in Oxnard,” El Camino Real Charter junior Fernanda Reyes said, “the parade was really nice and it was cool how so many people dressed up for it.”