For Jose Hernandez, helping organize the 2013 Cinco dey Mayo celebration Saturday is about much more than throwing a party.
“There is a lot of tradition,” he said. “That’s why we keep going.”
This year observance will take place Saturday. The event begins with an 11 a.m. parade starting at Brit Spaugh Zoo and working its way south on Main Street to the Barton County Courthouse Square.
Riding in the parade will be the 2013 Cinco de Mayo Queen Christy Jaquez and the two princesses, Vero Calzada y Cassandra Madrid.
At noon, Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison is scheduled to officially open the festival. He will be followed by Hispanic church leaders who will give opening remarks.
Then, for the next four hours, the square will be filled with the sights, sounds and culinary smells of Mexico.
Banda Original out of Salina will perform authentic Mexican music throughout the day. In addition, there will be dancers, Zumba demonstrations and other free entertainment.
Assorted vendors will peddle home-made Mexican food and crafts. Great Bend schools are taking part.
“We just want people to show up,” Hernandez said. Everyone is welcome to attend.
This is all important, Hernandez said. “We need to let the young, Hispanic kids know why we celebrate.”
He said he and his wife Cicilia have kept their children involved, but that’s not the case with everyone. Cinco de Mayo is bigger south of the border, but sadly, many who migrated northward have lost touch with it’s origins.
“In 15 or 20 years, what’s going to happen?” he asked.
Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the Fifth of May. 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.