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Ventura County Focus | Countywide / OXNARD

5-Day Mexican Fiesta Continues With a Parade

September 13, 1998|JENNIFER HAMM

Celebrating Mexican independence and heritage, parade and festival-goers filled downtown Oxnard on Saturday.

"This is just a perfect day for the parade," said state Assemblyman Nao Takasugi (R-Oxnard), who served as grand marshal.

The hourlong parade was just one of many events for Las Fiestas Patrias, a five-day celebration of Mexico's independence that began Friday.

"It's Hispanic heritage, and I like to see a parade," said Pat Lopez, an Oxnard native. "People should not forget their roots."

Lopez was one of scores of residents who lined A Street to cheer on mariachi bands and folkloric dancers, all clad in traditional Mexican costumes. The historic marched with the modern as Latino radio stations represented in buses cruised the parade route as well.

Local elected officials and veterans groups also peppered the show. And a local tae kwon do team practiced triple punches and kicks that drew applause.

Moments before the parade began, Rose Marie Cruz, who runs the Cruz Dance Center in Santa Barbara, said her troupe of folkloric dancers was ready. They perform in parades and festivals every weekend of the year, she said. Despite such a demanding schedule, the team of mostly girls loves to perform.

"They like making people happy," Cruz said. "They like seeing people smile."

And there were plenty of smiles to go around. Wearing a Home, Sweet Oxnard pin, Dorothy Hobbs said she brought her daughter and granddaughter to the parade because she recently moved to the city from Ventura and wanted to get a sense of the community.

"It's small but it's cute," Hobbs said of the parade.

Henry Najera of Oxnard said the parade was a welcome break in routine.

"The same old thing gets kind of boring," Najera said. "This is good."

Saturday also included a 5K race, a soccer tournament and a Latino film festival. The celebration will continue today with soccer tournament finals and a Tarahumara art exhibit at the Carnegie Cultural Arts Center.

Folk art workshops will be held Monday evening at Oxnard's Main Library. The traditional El Grito ceremony to celebrate Mexican independence will be held Tuesday night at Oxnard's Community Center.

For more information, call the Mexican consulate at 388-4416.

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