Matador’s managing editor, Julie Schwietert, returns to Mexico City to celebrate the country’s bicentennial.

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By 10 AM, I was at Mexico City’s Zocalo, its main plaza and the location of the capital’s largest bicentennial celebration. I spent the day crossing the city, photographing people getting ready to participate in the country’s independence day events. By 10 PM, I’d arrived in the neighborhood of Coyoacan to take part in the celebration myself.  
1

Mexico City Bicentennial, Velasquez Family

1. Juana Velasquez Alvarado, who's from the town of Guanajuato, woke up at 2 AM and took a five hour truck ride to get to the capital for the bicentennial. Velasquez claimed she and her family were the first people to enter the Zocalo in the morning. They said they were happy to wait 12 hours for the big event to begin. 

2

Mexico City Bicentennial, mini sombrero

2. A young woman tries on a miniature sombrero, one of many items being sold by throngs of street vendors. 

3

Mexico City Bicentennial, drum girl

3. This girl was trying to convince her father that she needed a drum. 

4

Mexico City Bicentennial, Auxiliary police officers line up to have their boots shined.

4. Auxiliary police officers line up to have their boots shined.

5

Mexico City Bicentennial, soldier costumes

5. These boys are dressed up as the troops who were called to arms in the fight for independence.

6

Mexico City Bicentennial, Chef Oscar Alvarado Juarez

6. Chef Oscar Alvarado Juarez, of the Cantina Maria Bonita in the Camino Real Hotel, shows off Mexico's signature independence day plate: chile en nogada. The green chile poblano, the white walnut cream sauce, and the red pomegranate seeds reflect the colors of Mexico's flag. 

7

Mexico City Bicentennial, Coyoacan

7. The Coyoacan celebration was family friendly. Kids could enjoy carnival rides before the main event. 

8

Mexico City Bicentennial, Fireworks

8. A fireworks show was the grand finale of the bicentennial celebrations in Coyoacan.