Chicano Park's 37th annual celebration in the Barrio Logan neighborhood Saturday brought out between 50,000 and 55,000 revelers and a small group of anti-illegal immigration activists, an organizer said.
The seven-hour festival at the park located between Interstate 5 and Cesar Chavez Parkway featured colorful Mexican-style dancing and costumes, guest speakers, poetry readings and guest speakers.
"I've not seen that big a crowd since the 30th anniversary," said Chris Mattson of the Chicano Park Steering Committee. "We knew they were going to come out and focus on celebrating the event and boy, did they ever."
Chicano Park's history is closely tied to the Mexican and Chicano culture and San Diego's Spanish speakers, Mattson said.
One festival highlight was the main speaker, Enrique Morones of Border Angels, a San Diego-based group helping immigrants, Mattson said. And, "there were so many low riders, everywhere," she added.
Nearly 15 members of the Minutemen anti-illegal immigration group demonstrated at the event, causing San Diego police to increase its presence.
One Minuteman said they were there to call attention to the case of U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, according to a local television station.
Compean and Ramos are currently serving prison terms for their convictions for shooting a drug dealer at the U.S.-Mexico border in February 2005, and have received strong support from the Minutemen.
Police said the protest was peaceful and without incident.
Mattson said she believed because the celebration was a family event, "everyone was on their best behavior and had a really good time."