Cinco de Mayo celebrations vary from city to city with their own traditions and scheduled events. At times these festivities start days before and lead up to the holiday, offering the community a variety of fun and engaging events flexible to their busy work schedules. If you’re looking to plan your Cinco de Mayo celebration, here’s some options to help make your planning easier!
FESTIVALS AND PARADES
Festivals and parades are the cornerstone of any large Cinco de Mayo celebration. In many cases, the celebrations provide similar offerings of traditional food, music, and dancing. However there are traditions from certain cities that make them stand out from the others.
In San Francisco, the biggest festival is on Valencia Street, which is an alcohol-free, family-friendly event that celebrates the culture of Mexican Americans. Sponsored by SF Health Plan, UCSF Dental School, the American Red Cross, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, there is also a focus on spreading awareness for improving health and the quality of life for the whole community.* For the children, there is also a Kids Zone with a petting zoo and an arts and crafts creative center.
Washington D.C.’s festival is not only free and open to all, it is also hosted by the famous dance company Maru Montero Dance Company, which specializes in performing mexican folk music, cha cha, salsa, and tango and celebrates with the purpose of spreading the happiness and beauty of Hispanic culture across the US. **
With a special Cinco de Mayo luncheon, Omaha’s celebration also includes a celebrity keynote speaker and famous guests days before the holiday starting April 29th and leading up to the 5th of May. Following the opening luncheon event, there are days with stand up comedy shows featuring prominent Latino comics as well as a large beauty pageant and carnival to be held to crown the Queen of Cinco and a Golf Tournament that supports a Scholarship Foundation on May 4th.***
The city of St. Paul in Minnesota has the People’s Joy Parade which includes Elvis impersonators, rainbow dancers, giant puppeteers, homemade costume fashionistas, robot makers, Virgin’s of Guadalupe, bike brigades and members of the Missouri lost tribe seeking the recognition of those who make a community.****
Cinco de Mayo revelers looking for Chihuahua racing and an annual Taco Eating Contest can find both in Denver as well.*****
CINCO DE MAYO CONCERTS
Not just being limited to parades and festivals, Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the US also include a number of different concerts for those looking to enjoy the holiday. Omaha’s celebrations also include two major concerts, the first is the Kickoff Concert which serves as an opening to the celebration of Cinco de Mayo with a well known Mexican artist performing and the second concert is the Finale to Cinco de Mayo, both events are free for all to enjoy.***
In St. Louis, Cinco de Mayo concerts are held on three different stages with more than 15 bands performing. Attendees are treated to traditional Latin music on the Main Stage, local talent playing a variety of genres from rock to country on the Gringo Stage, and rap music as well as the Garduno family band’s closing act on the Garduno Stage.******
San Diego’s concert has two stages instead of three, but also includes and a special concert known as the Misa Azteca, which includes a combination of Roman Catholic mass with Aztec music and poems dating back to the 16th century.******
*Sfcincodemayo.com, “SF Cinco de Mayo Festival”
**Dc.about.com, “Cinco de Mayo Festival 2014 in Washington D.C”
***Cincodemayoomaha.com, “Cinco de Mayo! Omaha”
****Cincodemayosaintpaul.com, “Cinco de Mayo: Westside”
*****Cincodemayodenver.com, “Cinco de Mayo ‘Celebrate Culture’ Parade May 2014”
******Cincodemayostl.com, “Musica Fantastica”
*******Oldtownsandiegoguide.com, “Fiesta Cinco de Mayo”