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East L.A. celebrates Mexican Independence Day

September 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The streets of East Los Angeles beat to a different drum Sunday morning as hundreds celebrated Mexican Independence Day.

"It's 200 years of independence, so it's a big day for as Mexicans," said Edith Barrera, who sat along the parade route.

The oldest and longest running Mexican Independence Day parade in the U.S. rolled down Cesar Chavez Avenue. The crowds cheered as dancers, floats and familiar faces went by.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rode the parade route in a convertible and waved to the crowd.

"I'm very proud to be here," Villaraigosa said. "It's like coming home for me."

Other dignitaries also took part in the festivities.

Attorney General Jerry Brown and Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina were there, as were ABC7's Marc Brown, Sid Garcia and Alysha Del Valle.

But Sunday wasn't just about celebrating Mexico's independence. It was also about celebrating Mexican-American culture, with clothing, dancing and music.

From Aztec dancers to dancing horses, the parade brought a piece of Mexican heritage to the streets of East L.A.

"We've never been to Mexico, but this is as close as we get and it's so much fun," said Ammie Velasco as she looked on from the crowd.

And for many who took their kids, the parade was a way to share their culture with a younger generation, and continue to keep it alive.

"Maybe someday my kids will bring their kids also," said another spectator, Louis Ramirez.

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