Rockford kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month with parade, festival

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Friday marks the first day of National Hispanic Heritage month, a time to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans in the United States, including right here in the stateline.

The month-long celebration will include Saturday’s Mexican Independence Day parade and celebration in the city’s 11th  Ward.

Leaders say Rockford’s Hispanic community has a rich history,  as people from more than two dozen Spanish-speaking countries have brought various aspects of their cultures to the Forest City over the years. And National Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to celebrate them all.

“And they’re all unique,” said aerospace engineer and community activist Rudy Valdez. “They have very unique things that they do—customs, etc. And there are commonalities, as well. So we celebrate both.”

Saturday’s parade starts at noon, beginning at Kishwaukee Street and moving east on Broadway to 12th  Avenue. The festival starts at 1 p.m., at Keye-Mallquist Park, 1702 11th  St.