Because Texas was once a part of Mexico, many traditions and festivities of Mexican heritage are very much alive in Texas, the most well-known of which is the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. “Cinco de Mayo,” as you may know, is Spanish for “the fifth of May,” and commemorates the anniversary of the 1862 battle between Mexico and France in the Mexican state of Puebla. While the largest celebration occurs in Puebla each year, Cinco de Mayo is richly celebrated throughout Mexico as well as many cities in the U.S., especially cities throughout Texas. Here is a list of some of the primary hot-spots for Cinco de Mayo festivities throughout Texas:
1. San Antonio is the largest Texas city closest to Mexico, and therefore maintains the strongest ties to Mexican heritage. Thus, San Antonio annually hosts quite a celebration for Cinco de Mayo at its historic Market Square. Festivities include Mariachis, Tejano and Conjunto music groups, Folklorico dancers, arts and crafts, concerts, and of course a cornucopia of authentic Mexican food. The Cinco de Mayo events at Market Square usually draw between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors annually.
2.In North Texas, Denton’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is “centered on the spirit of celebration and friendship” and showcases a parade, rich cultural traditions, songs, dances, art exhibits, and Mexican food, as well as a 5k run for all ages. What started several years ago as a very small celebration has grown to include two entertainment stages and use of the whole Quakertown Park and Civic Center. The celebration in Denton draws over 6,000 visitors annually.
3. Austin’s celebrations give an extra incentive to attend: proceeds are donated to the Fiestas Patrias of Austin scholarship fund, as well as various community programs. At Fiestas Patrias 8th annual two-day Cinco de Mayo celebration, Mexican traditions fill the air with a variety of Tejeno and conjunto bands that bring the heart and soul of Mexico to life. Highlighting the event this year will be performances by: Gary Hobbs, Baraja de Oro, Joel Guzman y Sara Fox, Los Fantasmas del Valle, Yayo Castillo y grupo Rumores, and many more. Chuy’s will also be celebrating their 30th annual Hot to Trot 5k and Kids 5k on May 5, with proceeds benefitting the Special Olympics.
4. San Marcos joins in the fun with a three-day event featuring their "Viva"! Cinco de Mayo parade which takes place at 10 a.m. on May 5 in downtown San Marcos. The festivities also include: a state-wide cook-off, a Miss and Little Miss Cinco de Mayo pageant, Folkloric dancers, and live music all at the Hays County Civic Center.
Wherever you’re from and whatever your background, take time to join in the celebrations and excitement of Cinco de Mayo has to offer, bringing Mexico’s history and traditions to life. Arriba!