More than 30,000 people are expected to converge on Oxnard today through Sunday as the city celebrates its annual Las Fiestas Patrias, a recognition of Mexican independence from Spanish rule.
"Viva la Fiesta" is the theme for this year's four-day event, which will feature former world welterweight boxing champion Carlos Palomino as grand marshal. It is sponsored by the Ventura County Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce.
The event will kick off at 7 tonight with a flag ceremony and El Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Independence, at Plaza Park. The remembrance observes the beginning of Mexico's struggle for independence from the Spanish. The proclamation was delivered at midnight today in 1810 in the town of Dolores by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo.
Mexican Consul Enrique Silva Guzman will lead the cry in Park Plaza about 11:30 p.m. "Sept. 15 and 16 are more important for our independence than Cinco de Mayo," said Guzman, who will preside over his second El Grito this year. "Cinco de Mayo is only a battle we won against the French."