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Fun Cinco de Mayo Weekend Celebrations
Cities across the country get festive for Cinco de Mayo and go crazy for half-price Mexican beers, but what exactly are we celebrating?
Cinco de Mayo – or the Fifth of May – marks a victorious battle that took place in Puebla, Mexico. There, 4,000 brave Mexican soldiers triumphed over twice as many French fighters on May 5, 1862. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the last foreign battle on North American soil.
“While Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Pueblo and some other parts of Mexico, it is not an official national holiday in Mexico,” according to About.com.
“However it has gained popularity around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage. It is often confused outside of Mexico with Mexican Independence Day, the biggest Mexican holiday, which is September 16 or Dieciseis de Septiembre.”
Even if it’s not an official national holiday, Cinco de Mayo festivals will be popping up in Mexican-American communities across the United States this weekend in celebration of 150 years. Here’s a sampling of events to get you in the mood.
The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world is Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles, a mile-long street fair held annually the last Sunday in April since 1989. Half a million people come out for the one-day event. While that particular event has passed, you can guarantee L.A. has many other parties to attend.
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and Classic Car Show Santa Monica is Sunday, May 6, from noon to 5 p.m. in Virginia Park. Mariachis, a salsa band, folklorico dancers and children's crafts will share space with classic, vintage, muscle cars, low riders, trucks and specialty vehicles at this celebration.
Cinco de Mayo in Santa Ana, the largest Mexican-American community in Orange County, celebrates with two days of festivities including carnival rides, games, music, dance and lots of food on historic 4th Street in downtown Santa Ana. It takes place May 5-6 from noon to 9 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street is a traditional celebration with mariachis, folklorico dancers, piñatas and other activities for the kids at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles on May 5 from noon to 7 p.m. and May 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo at LA Plaza will celebrate at the new LA Plaza museum with free admission, crafts and music on May 5.
Celebrate the 6th annual Fiesta Atlanta on Sunday, May 6, at Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of Atlanta. Fiesta Atlanta features a daylong Cinco de Mayo celebration, featuring international, national and local recording artists, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, a 5K race, youth soccer clinics and sponsor displays with free product samples, arts and crafts and authentic international foods make Fiesta Atlanta a true multicultural celebration.
To further explain the holiday, the SF Cinco de Mayo website says when news of the Battle of Puebla reached the United States, the Mexican army’s victories, as well as the contributions of those who had migrated to this country, were acknowledged. Years later, the institutionalization of this celebration in the United States has brought Mexican immigrants and other ethnic and national groups together.
You can follow SF Cinco de Mayo on Twitter @SFCincodeMayo or like them on Facebook at San Francisco Cinco de Mayo Festival.
The East End Street Festival in Houston is a free family event on May 5 from noon to 8 p.m. This day-long event will feature food, dance, music, and ‘best taco’ and ‘best-decorated food truck’ competitions.
After running a 5k race in Seattle, how about stuffing a bunch of tacos in your face? The Taco Truck Challenge in Capitol Hill allows runners free entry into the Jose Cuervo Margarita Garden where they can eat, drink and be merry. But the tacos aren’t free, so bring cash!
Many, many more Cinco de Mayo celebrations are happening around the country this weekend, so feel free to post them as a comment here. ¡Salud!