Mexican Independence Day Chicago: Celebrations lead to traffic gridlock downtown, more expected

Sept. 16 celebrates Mexico gaining independence from Spain

Downtown Chicago's streets were packed with traffic Thursday night into Friday morning, with people driving around to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.

Crowds on Michigan Avenue caused gridlock on some downtown streets overnight. Chicago police said there were no arrests and there will be extra patrols this weekend.

City officials are encouraging people celebrate the holiday peacefully, but said they're prepared to close streets if necessary.

Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communication sent an alert that said: 

"We ask that everyone be cognizant of your neighbors and respectful of others while celebrating and realizing there are critical functions that exist for the well-being of all."

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

Local residents said it's importance for young people to understand the history and meaning in our modern world.

"They really celebrate because they are happy with the independence. It's just for fun," Little Village resident Luigi Gutierrez said.

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.