Hispanic International Parade returns to Henderson

The Hispanic International Parade of Nevada Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to showcasing the strength and diversity of the Hispanic community, which is composed of 21 countries and cultures. Through its 12th annual Hispanic International Parade, the organization plans to give the community a feel of Hispanic culture while honoring returning service members.

The parade is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Water Street District from Ocean to Pacific avenues. The event is free and open to the public.

Margarita Rebollal and Mildred Arroyo McClain, the parade’s organizers and president and vice president, respectively, of Hispanic International Parade of Nevada Inc., saw that some non-Hispanics didn’t know the difference between Hispanic countries.

Although they share the same language, each country has different customs and offers a different cultural experience.

“We can all learn from one another,” Rebollal said.

According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, Clark County’s population is 29.7 percent Hispanic, and Henderson’s is 14.9 percent Hispanic. The parade will have a taste of that population.

“They can bring their own unique culture to the floats or on the street,” Rebollal said.

Rebollal estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 people plan to attend the event.

The first Hispanic International Parade was held Oct. 12, 2000, in Las Vegas. It moved to Henderson in 2010.

“The event has been celebrated by several thousand annually,” Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said. “Festive events such as these serve to fulfill our mission of creating innovative events and entertainment that celebrate diverse cultural arts and involve and serve the community.”

The Hispanic International Day Parade of Nevada became a nonprofit in 2004. Each year, Rebollal said, the parade has grown.

The parade had to be canceled one year because of rain.

“I thought it would be no big deal,” Rebollal said. “I kept getting calls from people asking when I was going to reschedule the parade.”

After an outpouring of requests, Rebollal arranged for the parade to go on in November.

“So I organized two parades that year,” Rebollal said.

The parade also is dedicated to a specific theme in addition to showcasing the Hispanic cultures.

Past themes included women, children and seniors. With the number of military troops coming home, Rebollal decided to dedicate this year to service members.

“I was reading a news article back in April when I thought of it,” Rebollal said. “We still have a war going on in Afghanistan.”

Rebollal thinks the parade is a good opportunity to remind people of the troops and show them – and their families – gratitude for their service.

“I hear the stories of our troops,” Rebollal said. “They sacrifice so much for us.”

Rebollal added that while retaining the event’s cultural theme, most floats will have supportive banners and signs for the troops.

This year’s grand marshal is expected to be Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. Rebollal also hopes to attract some high-ranking officials from Nellis Air Force Base.

“But I won’t know who until closer to the event,” Rebollal said.

After the parade, people can continue experiencing cultures with a festival that includes entertainment and food vendors at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St.

“The festival offers a perfect opportunity for residents of Henderson, as well as people across the entire valley, to share new and traditional music, food and art developed in a variety of Hispanic counties,” Hafen said.

More than 40 floats are expected for the parade. Rebollal said she often receives entries up until the day of the parade.

For more information or to sign up for a float, visit hispanicparadelv.org.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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