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Mexican Independence Day celebration leads traffic gridlock in Chicago's Loop, more expected this weekend

The city has been prepping for this, encouraging people to celebrate Mexican Independence Day peacefully.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It was a night of chaos Friday in the Loop as revelers celebrated Mexican Independence Day took over the streets.

Thousands of people in cars and on foot blocked traffic for several hours and streets were cleared up across downtown early Saturday morning.

Celebrations lasted until the early morning hours, with huge crowds of people taking over the streets and blocking traffic throughout the Loop.

Some of the crowds with cars were draped in flags with music blasting. Some people set off fireworks and other people in the crowd danced and waved flags in the street.

These celebrations have appeared to grow in recent years, making their way from the neighborhoods into the Loop.

Mexican Independence Day is an annual event that takes place on Sept. 16, celebrating Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain in 1810.

Police ramped up patrols through the night, with some officers in riot gear trying to manage congestion.

City leaders and Chicago police have encouraged people to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, with several festivals lined up for this weekend, but they're asking people to do so safely through the rest of the weekend.

Police said most of the crowds from overnight cleared out within the hours of 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. There's no word on any arrests.

Celebrations are expected to last through the weekend like previous years, and will include people heading to the 10th annual Pilsen Fest Saturday, along with the Mexican Patriotic Parade Sunday near 87th Street.

During Pilsen Fest, La Casa Del Pueblo Taqueria will feature tamales from Northern Mexico and other specialties to represent other parts of the Mexico.

"Right now we need to embrace it, the same type of people, I don't care if you are Black, brown, white," said George Haro, at La Casa Del Pueblo. "This is a holiday. Let's celebrate."

The outdoor festival is free, and celebrates the neighborhood's rich past and present.

"We wanted to make it accessible," Pilsen Fest founder Esmirna Garcia said. "There's a lot of talent that exists in our community."

It's all a special reminder of the good things happening for this community.

"I'm so proud of my Mexican people," Little Village resident Maria Vazquez said. "We are doing so good, and I see a lot of people doing a lot for Chicago."

The party extends to the suburbs too, as the city of Aurora hosted its Hispanic Pioneers Breakfast, followed by a Mexican flag raising ceremony.

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