BERWYN – In a city that thrives on celebrating its Hispanic and Latino culture, Joe Vallez of the North Berwyn Park District and his colleagues work hard to create special events that bring members of the community together. On Aug. 17, the second Corrida Del Mariachi returns to the streets of Berwyn.
The early Saturday morning 5K isn’t just an activity for competitive athletes. Corrida Del Mariachi is founded on a fun, family-friendly feel, offering a place for runners and residents.
What’s unique about the race is the course runs through Berwyn’s neighborhoods and homeowners along the 3.1-mile stretch are encouraged to decorate their homes and show pride for their ethnic heritage, said Vallez, executive director of the park district.
More than that, a pair of mariachi bands will perform at different spots of the race course, which gives some runners just the right motivation they might need to finish strong, Vallez said, laughing.
At Corrida, participants and guests also will have the chance to view sets from traditional folkloric dance groups or a local house music DJ, as well as dive into a spread of authentic Mexican and Latin American food.
“It’s an opportunity to see the city firsthand, you know, feet on the ground, and see all of the cultural diversity that the city has to offer,” Vallez said about the true meaning behind the 5K run and walk. “When you come out here, you see the city, you see the residents, you see all of the things that people on a daily basis see.”
Built on the back of several Berwyn-based organizations, Corrida Del Mariachi is the result of a strong partnership. While the park district teamed up with MacNeal Hospital to co-host the event and share a message of health and wellness, the city of Berwyn, police and fire departments, local school districts and many other local groups have lent a hand to help make the 5K a tradition.
Corrida Del Mariachi, which starts at 8 a.m. at 16th Street and Wesley Avenue, is the only race in Berwyn that is certified by the Chicago Area Runners Association. Registration fees and information are available at the park district’s site, www.nbpd4fun.org.
On the same day and shortly after the 5K concludes at 11 a.m., the Nuestra Raíces Back to School Fiesta will take over 16th Street and Wesley Avenue. By design, having the Corrida Del Mariachi and longtime back-to-school fest back-to-back, Vallez and the park district are able to meet their goals: to put a spotlight on diversity with a focus on their Hispanic and Latino families.
“This has really brought the city together,” Vallez said, especially of Corrida Del Mariachi. “I think it’s really something that a lot of towns aspire to have – everybody coming together for a real feel-good event.”