Big turnout expected for Cinco de Mayo

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May 5th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – In the heart of South Omaha, nearly 40,000 visitors will head to the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration this weekend.

The Cinco de Mayo parade, said Mora, is one of the biggest in the Midwest. (Photo credit to CincodeMayoOmaha.com)

The culture-rich 24th Street district will be full of musicians, dancers, ethnic foods and live entertainment. Grupo Control, a Latino music group out of El Paso, Texas, will take the stage Friday night. And on Saturday morning, 24th Street will also be the spot for one of the largest and liveliest parades in the Midwest, according to Marcos Mora of Cinco de Mayo Omaha.

“If it’s not the biggest, it’s one of the biggest parades in about three to four states around here. I don’t think there’s anything close to as big as this,” said Mora. “This festival is definitely growing to a magnitude that’s good for Omaha.”

The celebration may be in its 26th year by an official count, but Mora said the festivities have spanned generations. “It’s been around for a long time, but I think they did it like other ethnic groups…that had their festivals. It was a way to preserve their culture and share their culture.”

Often confused as the Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually originates from an unlikely military victory in the small town of Puebla, Mexico located in southern Mexico. There in 1862, an ill-equipped Mexican army defeated a strong French militia, ordered to seize the town from Spanish rule by Napoleon. Cinco de Mayo has continued to grow since the 1950’s as a celebration embraced by Mexican-Americans along with non-Latinos across the US.

The Cinco de Mayo celebrations kick off Thursday. (Photo credit to CincodeMayoOmaha.com)

Mora said Latinos and Mexican Americans are proud to share their rich culture and heritage with their neighbors. And he said festival goers will see “…family values and people that are also trying to assimilate to American culture.”

The Cinco de Mayo festivities kick off today and run through Sunday.

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