A former professional football player and Spanish-language television executive will serve as grand marshal of the 1991 Fiestas Patrias parade Saturday in Oxnard, organizers said.
Daniel D. Villanueva, a onetime place-kicker for the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys and a former president and general manager of KMEX Channel 34, will head the noon parade that kicks off a weekend of festivities honoring Mexican independence from Spain, said Mena Rios, vice president of the Ventura County Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce.
The parade will start at 8th Street and proceed up C Street. The festival will feature more than 60 food booths, a carnival, live entertainment and "El Grito," a re-enactment of the cry for independence that signifies the will and spirit of the Mexican people, Rios said.
"I'm flattered and surprised that they would want me to do that," Villanueva said of being selected to lead the parade.
Villanueva, who owns a ranch in Somis, played football with the Rams from 1960 to 1964 and with the Cowboys from 1965 to 1967. In 1962, he helped found the Univision television network, the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, he said.
He worked with the network's KMEX station as sports director in 1963. He eventually became company president, a position he held until 1987, when Univision was sold to Hallmark Cards.
Villanueva's recent purchase of Thousand Oaks-based radio station KMDY (850 AM) is awaiting government approval for a license, he said.