Juárez plans grand Independence Day fiesta

‘Never again under the bed,’ vows the mayor

Rio Grande Digital

Juárez Public Services director Jorge Gutierrez Casas responds to media questions on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy city of Juárez)

After staying home last year and watching meager 16 de Septiembre activities on television,  Juárez residents are preparing for an old-fashion fiesta Mexicana with celebrations filling the streets, the city said Wednesday.

Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. On Sept. 16 and will continue until 2 a.m. Sept. 17, said Jorge Gutierrez Casas, the city director of Public Services.

Last year, then-Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz canceled all public celebrations and told Juarenses to stay home and watch the traditional Grito de Independencia on television because of the violence that has gripped the city. The mayor at the time also said people could go outside and catch a glimpse of the city’s fireworks.

So it was a bizarre scene at the city hall when Reyes Ferriz opened a window, waved a Mexican flag and shouted, “Viva!” with almost no response from outside. A few thousand Juarenses crossed the border to attend El Paso’s celebration — marking Mexican independence on foreign soil. Last year’s holiday was even more significant because it was the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence.

“Never again under the bed,” Juárez Mayor Hector “Teto” Murguia told reporters Wednesday, a reference to Juarenses hiding under their beds while they could have been celebrating. “As mayor, I would be embarrassed to tell people they had to celebrate at home.”

Acts of violence have declined considerably in Juárez in recent weeks.

The Public Services director Gutierrez said entertainment will include such popular groups as “La Original Banda Limón” and “La Sonora de Margarita.” Festivities will include the traditional 16 de Septiembre parade.

“There will also be a series of shows and activities, promoting the celebration of this great date that represents for all Mexicans, especially for all Juarez, who didn’t have this party last year,” he said.

Plans are to have events in the Benito Juárez Olympic Stadium “to receive thousands and thousands of citizens who have interest in participating in these parties,” Gutierrez said.

The mayor’s concern is for Juarenses to go out and reclaim the city’s public spaces while recognizing the importance of the date for their country and having a good time, he said.

Here is a video of last year’s event.



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