Community members celebrate Chicano Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Community members celebrate Chicano Park

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It was a milestone day for Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, as the community celebrated its 43rd anniversary this weekend.

Saturday's festivities were a showcase of what the park has meant to keeping Chicano and Hispanic heritage alive in San Diego. And it was not only a special day for Chicano Park, but this has been a landmark year, as the public space has also been named a national, historic park. That's something to celebrate for a park that was created more than 40 years ago out of community pride and protest.

San Diegan Angel Munoz shared with his children the park that has meant so much to previous generations in his family:

"We just enjoy this, the atmosphere, the people, the food. I heard a lot of stories from my father."

And so many San Diegans that came to the 43rd Annual Chicano Park Day in Barrio Logan had their own stories of what this public space beneath Interstate 5 near the Coronado Bay Bridge has meant to them:

"I used to dance on that stage when I was a kid…little nostalgic for me!"

"It means a lot to me, because when I first came to the United States, I lived two blocks away from here."

Celebrating Chicano history and bringing to life the Aztec heritage, the celebration showcased a mix of Mexican murals, music, culture and classic cars.

It's a comeback for a cultural landmark, which almost never existed. In 1970, after years of demanding the city create a park bordered by the eye-catching murals painted on the freeway pillars and ramps, local residents were incensed when the government decided to build a CHP station on the land instead.

Then, the community banded together in protest and took over the space, staging protests and sit-ins and began to break ground on their park themselves.

Now, more than four decades later it has been designated a national historic park. Its murals are part of the National Register of Historic Places – history that future generations can continue to come together and celebrate.

To help continue those traditions, at Saturday's celebration muralist Victor Ochoa led an artists workshop for children to help inspire younger generations.

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