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Cinco de Mayo offers taste of Mexico
Mavla Hernandez, 8, and her 4-year-old brother Aaron have choices to make, Saturday at the 22nd annual Cinco de Mayo Festival in Great Bend. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

About Cinco de Mayo

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo – which means Fifth of May – is a national holiday that recalls the victory of the Mexican army over a French Army at the city of Puebla more than 150 years ago. The French Army had 6,000 men and had been the best in Europe, while the Mexican army had only 2,000 men and very little artillery, but they held off the French troops for over a month, defeating the powerful army on May 5, 1862.
Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated to honor the Mexican people who fought for their freedom. In many communities, including Great Bend, the festival celebrates the Mexican heritage of many local residents.

In 1994, many Great Bend residents were unfamiliar with the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo – of Fifth of May. Now a spring tradition, the city’s 22nd annual Cinco de Mayo Festival drew a crowd to Jack Kilby Square on Saturday.
Things got started with a parade from Brit Spaugh Park to the courthouse square, where concessions were set up and musicians played in the band shell.
At noon, Mayor Mike Allison proclaimed May 2 as the official day of the 2015 festival.
“All residents of Great Bend should have opportunities to preserve their families’ traditions, cultures and languages,” Allison said, reading his official proclamation. He noted that the Hispanic population here contributes to the city’s cultural diversity, its economy and its quality of life. The festival gives everyone a chance to interact and experience cultural awareness.
With the U.S. and Mexican national flags on display, both national anthems were played. Blessings were given by Father Donald Bedore from Prince of Peace Parish and the Rev. Mario Aviles, pastor of the Spanish Assembly of God Church.
The 2014 Cinco de Mayo Queen, Andrea Montes, was on stage with the 2015 Queen Mayra Reyes, who was crowned by Jean Cavanaugh. The emcees, Moises Tapia and Betty Aviles, also recognized this year’s princesses, Paola Contreras and Karina Silvas, and the girl and boy who won the Outstanding Hispanic Role Model awards, Yahaira Martinez and Erick Alcala.
There was dancing by the El Sol Folk Dance Club & World Language Club at Great Bend High School. Music, singing and pinatas were all part of the celebration.
The Cinco de Mayo de Barton Committee expressed thanks to many local sponsors, and dedicated this year’s festival to Frank Riedl and Steve Link.