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Cinco de Mayo festival set for Saturday
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A large crowd was out to enjoy celebrating Cinco de Mayo in downtown Great Bend, one year ago. - photo by file photo


The Cinco de Mayo Committee of Great Bend will hold its 18th annual celebration on Saturday in Jack Kilby Square. The public can enjoy authentic south-of-the-border cuisine and soak in Latino culture, according to committee members Roberto Hernandez and Mercedes Helms.

Activities will start at 9 a.m., with entertainment for children and booths with a variety of ethnic foods — including tamales and sea food — and other merchandise from Latin American countries. There will be a parade down Main Street at 10 a.m., featuring this year’s Cinco de Mayo queen.

There will be a variety of food from different Latin American countries, representing the multicultural side of the Hispanic community in town, Helms said.

Free entertainment will start at the band shell in the afternoon. At noon, Mayor Mike Allison will lead the opening ceremony, and Father Peter Fernandez will give a blessing. After that, dancers, singers and bands will perform.

Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the Fifth of May — a name that has misled some people into thinking it’s the Mexican "Fourth of July." In fact, Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Helms said. "It commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States."