A local Catholic priest collaborated with the Mexican Consulate of Little Rock to organize an event in Conway celebrating Mexican independence.

The event, named El Grito after the issue of Grito de Dolores or cry of Dolores, is free and open to the public from 5-9 p.m. Friday at Simon Park.

“The Hispanic community in Conway is growing and there is a need to celebrate their heritage, culture and traditions,” Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla said. “The intention of this event is to bring the community together.”

The Grito de Dolores is named that because it was publicly read by Hidalgo in the town of Dolores calling for the end of 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico, redistribution of land and racial equality.

Thousands of Indians and mestizos flocked to Hidalgo’s banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe and soon the peasant army was on the march to Mexico City, Costilla said.

The local event will feature live music, folklore dancing, a Mariachi band and more.

“We will be honored to have the participation of our local government officials as well,” Costilla said.