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Hola es su centro para mantenerse informado, compartir ideas y conectarse con recursos. (Hola is your hub to stay informed, share ideas, and connect with resources in northern Illinois.)

Cinco de Mayo: Rochelle Edition 2023

Cinco de Mayo celebrations were held across the country this past weekend including in Rochelle, IL.

Rosie Arteaga, a member of the Rochelle City Council, organized the celebration that commemorates Mexico’s win over the French army at the Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862.

WNIJ previously reported the holiday’s American roots and resonance for Mexican Americans going way back to the late 1800s.

Arteaga invited the audience to applaud and encourage the young performers dancing traditional Mexican folkloric dances. Also, she led a a call and response, evoking pride from the audience.

“Long live Mexico!” Arteaga said. “Love live the United States, for here we are, and we're not going anywhere.”

Girls twirled in traditional dresses as they focused on their choreographed steps. Their dancers of the Ballet Folklórico de Colores of Mendota.

Their teacher and founder of the school, Rosa Villa, said, “The performances are like a gift- a small piece of Mexico for those who can’t travel to and from, and most importantly it helps younger generations connect with their familial ties.”

Villa said the school is inclusive-open to folks of all ages, backgrounds and physical abilities.

One of the performers made turns in her wheelchair as she danced alongside her partner.

There was a slight overcast throughout the festivities, but it didn’t hamper the event as crowds stood in line for hearty plates of tacos and visited vendors in the summer like temperatures. The festivities also included a Mexican regional music band and a petting zoo.

A Chicago native, Maria earned a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield . Maria is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America. RFA is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization. Un residente nativo de Chicago, Maria se graduó de University of Illinois Springfield con una licenciatura superior en periodismo de gobierno.