By Joe Contreras, Photos by Melissa Quesada, Miguel Baca Baragan, Alex Johns & Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media…See photos galleries below
The second day of the 27 Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival was met with sunny skies and warmer temperatures as thousands of people poured into Denver’s Civic Center Park and kept the party going from a rain drenched Saturday which put a damper on the part of that day’s festivities.
The event which is produced by the NEWSED Community Development Corporation, under the direction of the mother & daughter team of Veronica and Andrea Barela, brings together hundreds of vendors, dozens of sponsors and tens of thousands of festival goers.
This years numbers were near the 400,000 participants of years past, mostly due to Saturday’s wet and cold weather and the threat of rain on Sunday which never materialized.
Luis Romero, Promoter of the Local Stage kept the music playing with several of Denver’s hottest bands including Jon Maez Band, Conjunto Colores, Latin Soul, Soul School, The DeLeon Brother’s Band and the Mighty Nice Band. Over at the Main Stage the day started out with a Mariachi Mass followed by Los Chinelos, several Mexican dance groups then more Mariachis in a tribute to all the mothers for Mother’s Day.
The evening ended with headliners Groupo Dominazion.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates a major Mexican victory over French troops during the 1862 French invasion of Mexico.
After a series of internal and external wars in the 1800s — including one with the U.S. — Mexico was bankrupt. In 1861, President Benito Juárez decided that he had no choice but to cancel Mexico’s debts with European nations.
France used the canceled debt as a pretext to invade. The invading troops, on their way to the capital, Mexico City, soon made it to the the southern city of Puebla, where they faced off with Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza.
The odds didn’t look good. But on May 5, 1862, the outgunned and outnumbered Mexican soldiers defeated the French.
The victory didn’t hold, and France eventually installed a monarch favorable to its interests. But the Battle of Puebla is still a powerful symbol for many Mexicans and Mexican Americans of their right to govern themselves.
Photos by Mellisa Quesada, Latin Life Denver Media
Photos by Miguel Baca Barragan, Latin Life Denver Media
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media