Great Bend’s 2019 Cinco de Mayo Festival drew a crowd downtown for a celebration of Mexican culture.
After a parade down Main Street, the festival began on the south side of the courthouse square, with people standing for the Mexican national anthem, "Mexicans, at the Cry of War," and then “The Star Spangled Banner" for the United States.
The red, white and green flag of Mexico was prominently displayed throughout the event, but the U.S. flag led the parade and was waved during the playing of the national anthem.
The opening ceremony continued with Father Don Bedore from the Prince of Peace Parish saying a prayer and Great Bend City Councilman Andrew Erb welcoming the crowd.
“It’s a great day out; beautiful weather,” Erb said. “Last year I read a declaration,” Erb continued. This year, he offered a simple welcome and a thank you to the sponsors on behalf of City of Great Bend staff and the governing body.
This year’s Cinco de Mayo Queen and Princess were brought on stage and addressed the audience in English and in Spanish.
“I want to thank everyone who came today,” said Queen Monica Perales. Then Princess Yulizza Barrera also thanked people for coming. They shared the stage with the 2018 Cinco de Mayo Queen Wendy Najera and Princess Clarissa Barrera. Several girls vied for the honor, which went to the one who sold the most tickets, Najera said. All of the candidates rode in the parade.
The festival continued throughout the afternoon. Those who attended also learned they could receive free Tdap vaccinations (protecting against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) at the Barton County Health Department.