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Cinco de Mayo y Ocho: Cultural festival brings crowd to downtown GB
Members of the El Sol folk dance group from Great Bend High School take the stage Saturday during Great Bend’s Cinco de Mayo Festival.

Great Bend held its traditional Cinco de Mayo Festival downtown Saturday, with food, music and dancing.

The fun started with a parade at 11 a.m. Then, shortly after noon, Mayor Cody Schmidt stopped onto the bandshell at Jack Kilby Square to welcome the crowd.

“Thank you all for coming out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo,” Schmidt said. “Enjoy your afternoon.”

A prayer was offered in English and Spanish by Father Donald E. Bedore from the Prince of Peace Parish.

Cinco de Mayo Coordinator Margarita Ayala, who was the Cinco de Mayo Queen in 2002, introduced this year's queens and princesses. There were two of each because it was considered a tie, she said. All are Great Bend High School students who are involved in school activities as well as maintaining good grades. The queens are Clara Vazquez and Natalia Ordonez; the princesses are Betsy Hernandez and Kimberly Escobedo.

Among the afternoon entertainers, the Great Bend High School folklore dance club, El Sol, was back on stage. These students also performed at a Cinco de Mayo program in the courthouse square last Wednesday, which was literally Cinco de Mayo — that is, the Fifth of May.

The city’s big Cinco de Mayo Festival is always held on a Saturday and was back this year. There was no festival in 2020 because of the pandemic.

A featured group at this year’s festival was the Minority Resource Network. Angela Delgado was with Venessa Favela, talking about this resource for people who have questions or concerns about any number of community issues, health and housing, job opportunities, etc. Favela works at the Barton County Health Department and also serves as an English/Spanish translator. The service is open to all minorities and is especially helpful to people learning English, Delgado said.

“If you’re not aware of community resources you might never find them,” she said. “We’re trying to bridge that gap.” Questions may be emailed to 

“We started with the business community,” Delgado said, adding there are already about 50 participants in the network. They have provided input to City Administrator Kendal Francis to suggest improvements to Heizer Park, have organized the Great Bend United Futbol Club and hope to create a community center that would be open to all.