By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media. Photos by Alex Johns Latin Life Denver Media & Teddy Gomez Xposer Photography…….. See photo galleries below.
More than 200,000 festival goers turned out for two days of food, music, and fun at the 27th annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The Denver celebration, produced by NEWSED , a non profit Community Development Corporation is considered the largest in world and featured top name local bands and performers. Latin LIfe Denver was pleased to again be a media sponsor for this year’s Cinco de Mayo happening.
NEWSED is lead by the mother & daughter team of Veronica and Andrea Barela who along with dozens of volunteers spend hundreds of hours preparing and staging the annual event.
The festivities began at 10am on Saturday with parade that saw 15 entries of floats, marching groups and 60 lowrider vehicles.
Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock cruised the State Capitol in a beautiful metallic brown low-rider. The grand stands were located in the middle of Lincoln between Colfax and 14th in front of the state capitol building where the crowds gathered to take in the spectacle.
Zumba was a big hit with the morning crowd as well as the energy created by the dance exercise and music became highly contagious and soon anyone within listening distance was moving to the beat. The Main KBNO Stage at Greek Amphitheatre started the morning with the Ballet Folklorico performing a number of traditional Mexican dances featuring some very young dancers. The KBNO stage featured a number of Mexican Bandas throughout both days.
The high caliber of entertainment was made possible by the father & son team of Zee and Mike Ferrufino owners KBNO radio. Mike Ferrufino.
The Local Stage featured top local bands including the Mighty Nice Band, Conjunto Colores, Sisters of Rock, Hot Lunch, Chase N the Dream, Thumpin, Chicano Heat, Latin Sol, Dotsero, Soul School, Jamedica and The Deleon Brothers Band, The R&B sounds of some of the groups mixed with jazz and the Latin Rock music of others kept much of the crowd hanging around this stage all day long as they just wanted to keep enjoying all the great music they have come to know so well over the years.
Luis Romero was MC for the local stage and had just as much fun as anyone on or off stage.
On the Fiesta Colorado Folkorico Stage, Janette Trujillo’s Fiesta Colorado dance group performed their magnificent renditions of Mexican classic dances. The Fiesta Colorado Dance Company, Baile Caliente, the Colorado Mestizo Dancers, Groupo Semblanzas de Mexico, Groupo Folklorico de Pueblo and the Confluence Musical Band entertained crowds throughout both days. The quality of all the performances was outstanding with colorful costumes and clear crisp sound from every stage at Civic Center Park.
The Chihuahua Races and the Taco Eating Contest were a big hit as was the USBL
Amateur Boxing matches. The children’s Carnival offered a variety of rides for just a dollar.
The Low Rider Car Show was again a crowd favorite as the love these car enthusiasts have for their vehicles is reflected in every inch of every car, truck or bike. A Mariachi Mass at the local stage kicked things of on Sunday with a traditional Catholic mass followed by a Taco Eating Contest that saw contestants eating more than 20 tacos. The Chihuahua Races followed with some serious contestants with hilarious results. More than 130 doggies took part.
The Cinco de Mayo celebrated by Latinos and non-Latinos across the country, commemorates the victory of a heroic people and their struggle for freedom. On May 5, 1862, in the town of Puebla, the outnumbered Mexican army defeated French forces providing the momentum and national confidence to drive a foreign power from their country. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of freedom and culture.
Photos by Teddy Gomez Xposer Photography for Latin Life Denver