Philadelphia's Carnaval de Puebla Festival Is Back After Last Year's Cancellation Due to ICE Fears

The annual festival celebrating the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo is back on after being canceled over fears of ICE crackdowns in 2017.

One of Philadelphia's biggest Latin American events, El Carnaval de Puebla, is returning later this month after a hiatus in 2017 amid fears of ICE crackdowns in President Donald Trump's first year in office.

El Carnaval attracts up to 15,000 people from across the region and as far as New England and Chicago, organizers say.

Edgar Ramirez, one of the lead organizers, told NBC10 and Telemundo62 that the festival will be held April 29 and "this year, it'll be bigger."

Ramirez, who runs Philatinos Radio in Philadelphia, said concerns locally with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency remain, but organizers didn't want to again cancel El Carnaval, which will be in its 12th year.

"The festival maintains its essence, but this year we had more time to plan it," Ramirez said. "We decided to cancel the event last year out of consideration for the community. Many people of many places come to El Carnaval and we didn't want them to have any problems."

This year, four bands will be attending El Carnaval, with two coming all the way from Mexico. The huge festival celebrates the May 5, 1862, Battle of Puebla, at which Mexican forces defeated French invaders.

More than 400 carnavaleros, or marchers, have taken part in years past. Some of the carnavaleros made history on New Year’s Day 2016 when they marched in the city’s well-known Mummers Parade. Carnaval itself has often taken place on Ninth Street between Wolf Street and Washington Avenue, though it spills onto many of the side streets.

ICE's continuing arrests on a day-to-day basis "has us worried" in a broad sense, Ramirez said, but there have been no concerns related directly to the festival.

"We just want the community to feel good and comfortable," he said. "The people who participate in our event will be safe. Everyone is welcome. We extend our invitation for everyone to come to South Philadelphia to learn about the Mexican culture."

For more information about the festival and parade on April 29, go to El Carnaval de Puebla's official website.

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