File Photo | Photo: Waukegan Police Department

Police say they expect thousands of residents and visitors to gather Sunday for two separate Mexican Independence Day parades in Waukegan, which they call “unprecedented.”

The Waukegan City Council approved special event permits for the Fiestas Patrias Parade and the Desfiles de Independencia Parade.

“The City recognizes both events as patriotic and important celebrations for Waukegan’s Latino community. The City is looking forward to a fun, festive and celebratory day,” Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Scott Chastain said.

Both parades will travel the same route eastbound on Washington Street from Butrick and Jackson Streets to Sheridan Road and County Street.

The Desfiles de Independencia Parade will start at 10 a.m. and will be completed by 12 p.m.

The Fiestas Patrias Parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. and end at 2:30 p.m.

Each parade will have floats and community groups marching on the route.

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Chastain said it is expected that thousands of residents and visitors will line the route and gather at post-parade festivals.

The Desfiles de Independencia Parade will have an after-celebration in the City of Waukegan F Lot at 575 South Sheridan Road, which will end at 10 p.m.

The Fiestas Patrias Parade will have an after-celebration at Bertrand Bowl at 2616 Washington Street in Waukegan that will also end at 10 p.m.

Chastain said there is no designated public parking for this event and attendees should park legally and responsibly to prevent “any unnecessary parking problems.”

Public transportation, private transportation, such as Uber, Lift or taxi, and carpooling are recommended.

No public drinking will be allowed during the parade and there will be no public bathrooms.

“Holding two major parades in one day in the City of Waukegan is an unprecedented event. To accomplish this the City must allocate its resources in a deliberate and careful manner,” Chastain said.

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With limited resources available to maintain traffic and pedestrian safety, horses and other livestock will not be permitted to participate in the parades and not be allowed in the downtown area.

The City of Waukegan said they notified both parade organizations that horses are not allowed in the parade as a condition of their permit application and approval.

Chastain said the city’s ordinances regarding horses and other violations will be strictly enforced to mitigate risks to public safety and sanitation issues.

“This policy, formulated with staff, including Waukegan Police Chief Edgar Navarro, was put in place to protect the public so that the Police Department may monitor the pedestrian and traffic safety while simultaneously reserving sufficient resources for the remainder of the City,” Chastain said.

“We understand that members of the community are disappointed that no horses will be permitted at parades. But this year is unlike any other year with two parades occurring on the same day,” Chastain added.

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The police department said the presence of a large number of horses would impact its ability to regulate traffic and would pose a threat to the health and safety of those at the parades.

Several other city departments will be at the events, including the Waukegan Fire Department to monitor safety and ensure capacity maximums.

Public works will ensure adequate access to roadways and public streets and conduct sanitation control.