Great Colombian Fest Returns To Humboldt Park, Amid Concerns About COVID And Gun Violence – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s surge in violence is inflicting security considerations on the metropolis’s well-known neighborhood festivals.

Simply final month, two individuals died after they have been shot hours after the Puerto Rican Parade. This weekend, as CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek experiences, police stepped up their patrols close to the Nice Colombian Fest.

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The primary day of the pageant wraps up at 11 p.m. Saturday, and can proceed on Sunday. Through the pageant, Chicago Law enforcement officials have been patrolling nearly each stretch of the world in Humboldt Park.

The pageant’s director mentioned, after what occurred on the Puerto Rican Parade final month, CPD stepped up patrols considerably.

The previous yr has been robust for Jorge Ortega.

“We acquired hit kind of twice. You realize, we have been feeling all of the deaths and souls that we misplaced to COVID, after which flip round and have such a violent spring and summer time in Chicago,” he mentioned.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of violence in Chicago have been very a lot on the thoughts of Ortega as he made plans to convey the Nice Colombian Fest again to Humboldt Park for the primary time in two years.

“We took a threat and a chance. You realize, we wanted this occasion kind of to offer individuals slightly little bit of normality, but additionally to unite our individuals,” he mentioned.

Whereas holding the pageant is likely to be a threat, Ortega made certain it was a calculated one.

Relating to the problem of violence, Ortega estimated his safety staff inside the gates is 60% bigger than it was two years in the past.

He additionally estimated Chicago Police presence exterior of the gates was 90% greater than 2019, saying there have been extra officers than ever earlier than in pageant historical past.

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“It’s simply laborious, you recognize? I’ve been to a few vigils,” he mentioned.

As for COVID-19 security, the pageant does have protocols in place; encouraging, however not requiring, both proof of vaccination or proof of a unfavorable COVID take a look at.

For 2 pageant goers, Vickie and Molly, attending a pageant once more is thrilling, however feels form of unusual.

“I’m snug being exterior, and with my shut pals who I’m snug with, however being in like a better group setting, I’m probably not into nonetheless,” Vickie mentioned “However that is good, that is actually unfold out.”

“You possibly can see largely everybody’s unmasked. I really feel fairly okay if we’re like this, open-air, and making an attempt to not be near individuals,” Molly mentioned.

Hiram Padilla lives in Humboldt Park, and mentioned he hasn’t been vaccinated for private causes, however trying round, he mentioned he feels everyone seems to be being extra cautious about issues this yr.

“You realize what? Persons are alive, and persons are doing what they’re alleged to do, however we’re being extra cautious this time about issues,” he mentioned.

Ortega mentioned he went backwards and forwards about whether or not he ought to maintain the pageant this yr. For him, each the pageant and the pandemic are private, after dropping his father to COVID-19 final yr.

“It’s robust, however my dad and my mother, my mother’s with us at the moment, and you recognize, it’s like in present enterprise, you recognize, the present should go on,” he mentioned.

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Ortega mentioned the pageant will maintain a memorial for his father and different COVID victims on Sunday. Ortega’s father was thought of a pillar of the pageant.

Great Colombian Fest Returns To Humboldt Park, Amid Concerns About COVID And Gun Violence

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