Cinco de Mayo is celebrated to commemorate the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla on the fifth of May in 1862. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, the Mexican army was able to pull off an unlikely victory, defeating French forces which greatly outnumbered them. In recent years, Cinco de Mayo has become more of an American celebration of Mexican heritage, sort of a south-of-the-border St. Patrick’s Day.
Last night’s event started with lively mariachi music blaring from the makeshift stage set up on Garden Avenue. Streamers of green, white and red were strung between the lampposts, and booths were set up selling lucha libre masks (worn by Mexican wrestlers), sombreros and novelty horns reading “Viva Mexico!”
The delicious smell of cooking meat drifted from street vendors, free advertising for their tacos, empanadas and chorizos. Also available at stands from restaurants like Los Amigos was guacamole, churros, corn chips and salsa. Multi Mex Marketing offered samples of their products, like Jarritos, a Mexican soda.
The stage for the special events (which seem to be a more and more regular occurrence on Cleveland Street,) was used to hold performances by a mariachi band and traditional Mexican dancers. By the end of the night, the street was packed. The middle of Cleveland Street was thick with a sea of people watching the concert, dancing, and generally enjoying themselves.
In Clearwater, Cinco de Mayo is another excellent excuse to come down to the Cleveland Street District and have fun!