CHICAGO - The city has shut down some streets in downtown Chicago as large car caravans descend upon the Loop in celebration of Mexican Independence Day.
The Office of Emergency Management announced the Central Business District would continue to be closed Saturday night to incoming vehicular traffic from Division to 18th St. and from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Halsted St. for public safety reasons due to large car caravans.
The OEMC says to plan accordingly and allow extra time for travel.
In addition, residents who live or work in the impacted area and all critical care workers will be allowed acces at one of the following access points:
Tens of thousands of residents are expected to celebrate their Mexican heritage with parades and community events, and city officials were preparing for large crowds downtown.
Officials have been urging that those celebrating Mexican Independence Day do not block streets, especially as it creates a hazard for emergency vehicles.
Meanwhile, one of the largest events celebrating Mexico's independence from Spain back in 1810 is the 26th Street Parade in Little Village, which steps off at noon on Saturday near 26th Street and Albany.
"We will have over 80 floats, we asked every float to represent a different state in Mexico, to bring in a more cultural element," said Jennifer Aguilar.
Aguilar, executive director of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, also encouraged residents to enjoy the weekend safely.
"We urge everyone to stay safe, to just really be aware of the neighbors, to be kind and respectful to other Chicagoans, and most importantly, we invite them to come celebrate with us tomorrow, to kick it off in style and to be together as a community," Aguilar said.
For a full guide of this year's Mexican Independence Day festivities, click here.
As Mexican Independence Day celebrations got underway, Riot Fest also kicked off.
The gates to Riot Fest swung open at 11 a.m. on Friday, and by early afternoon, Douglass Park was already rocking out! Festival-goers also enjoyed beautiful weather on the first day of the major music event.
Founded in 2005, Riot Fest features punk, rock, alternative, metal and hip-hop, and runs through Sunday. But like in years past, it isn't being held without controversy.
Fans look forward to it all year, but some neighbors don't feel the same way and have called for organizers to find new stomping grounds.
Still, festivalgoers are back again and tell FOX 32 Chicago they are hoping for a smooth and positive weekend.
"Great setup, lots of stages, you can move around, lots of open spaces and great food trucks," said Tracy Barrios.
"I’m just grateful that we’re allowed to be here. Hopefully we aren’t too disruptive," said Valerie Solis.
"It’s been great, better than Woodstock," said Shelley Travell.
The rest of the weekend's headliners include Death Cab for Cutie, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Cure.
The festival runs until 9 p.m. each night. Due to limited parking in the area, attendees are encouraged to take public transportation.