Millennium Park party honors Mexican independence

September 15, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Preparations are under way at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park for this evening's Bicentennial Night. The artistic program starts at 7:30, but people started coming early in hopes of getting a seat.

"I came early, because maybe later on it is going to be a lot of people around," said Robert Pineda.

"In Mexico, they are making a big special out of this. That's why we are here," said Rosario Pineda.

"I think it is going to be a joyful night, a night of unity, and a night of friendship between the Mexican community and the American community here," said Manuel Rodriguez Arriaga, Consul General of Mexico.

A number of local acts, along with renowned artists from Mexico, will be performing. The Mariachi Vive Mexico and the contemporary ballet Folklorico de la Universidad de Guanajuato are part of a group of musicians and dancers trained in traditional Mexican music and dance.

"Most of the program will be artistic talent coming from Mexico as a present from Mexico to the Mexican-American community here," said the consul general.

Twenty-two-year-old Maria Cueva, a ballerina with the Folklorico group, says she is excited to be a part of the celebration.

"Very exciting because this auditorium is spectacular, and this show is very important for Mexican people," said Cueva.

Mexico 2010 Bicentennial Night is the highlight of an extensive cultural program of 86 events taking place throughout the year. The events are in partnership with 50 institutions in recognition of Mexico, its culture and the Mexican community of Chicago.

Some people question so much money being spent on events and galas with all the problems facing Mexico and Mexican immigrants.

"Most of this program from March to November is being sponsored by this part of the United States," said Manuel Rodriguez Arriaga, Consul General of Mexico.

Also performing will be a prominent pianist and cellist performing classical music by Mexican composers.

Thousands were expected to attend this evening's celebration.

The artistic program will be followed by El Grito de Independencia, the call for independence. This ceremony is the most important annual civic moment in Mexico and for Mexicans abroad.

The Mexican consul will lead the call for independence ceremony. The ceremony has a long and well established tradition in Chicago

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