The streets in downtown Great Bend was full of music, celebration, traditions and fun for many people coming out to enjoy the Cinco de Mayo event on Saturday at Jack Kilby Square.
This year marks the 23rd year the festival has taken place in Great Bend and every year it gets bigger and better.
“This festival is representation of the diversity of our city,” Major Mike Allison said. “The people that attend these events is the reason for the expansion of the square, we want to make it more comfortable for them. That way they can enjoy themselves that much more and to make the events bigger and better for the community.”
This year’s event started at 10 a.m. with music and food venders. At 11 a.m. the parade started at Brit Spaugh Park and continued down Main Street to the band shell at the square.
After the parade, Karina Silva was crowned the Cinco de Mayo Queen of 2016 by Jean Cavanaugh and was joined by last year’s queen Mayra Reyes.
“I think it is important to celebrate heritage and it shows the integration of our community,” Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said.
After all the formalities, activities continued in the courthouse square throughout the afternoon with more music, fun and food.
Cinco de Mayo
According to latinamericanhistoryabout.com, literally “the Fifth of May,” Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican Holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862.
In 1861, France sent a massive army to invade Mexico, as they wanted to collect on some war debts.
The French army was much larger, better trained and equipped than the Mexicans struggling to defend the road to Mexico City.
It rolled through Mexico until it reached Puebla, where the Mexicans made a valiant stand, and, against all logic, won a huge victory.
It was short-lived, as the French army regrouped and continued; eventually taking Mexico City, but the euphoria of an unlikely victory against overwhelming odds is remembered every May fifth.
In Puebla and in many U.S cities with large Mexican populations, there are parades, dancing and festivals.
Traditional Mexican food is served or sold. Mariachi bands fill town squares, and a lot of Dos Equis and Corona beers are served.
It is sometimes referred to as a “Mexican St. Patrick’s Day.”
In the U.S, schoolchildren do units on the holiday, decorate their classrooms and try their hand at cooking some basic Mexican foods.
All over the world, Mexican restaurants bring in Mariachi bands and offer specials for what’s almost certain to be a packed house.