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Cinco de Mayo, what to expect in downtown Denver
La Voz Staff Photo

By Joseph Rios

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, and there will be festivities going on all weekend throughout the state. People will have plenty of time and choices to get their margarita fix, food and entertainment.

Cinco de Mayo festivities are always fun, but what is often forgotten is the reason why May 5 is even a holiday. During the 1860s, Mexico was in a financial mess, because it owed money to European governments like France, Britain and Spain.

Napoleon III was ruling France at the time, and he sent military forces to Veracruz, Mexico along with Britain and Spain to receive their payments. Britain and Spain withdrew their military forces after negotiating with the Mexico government, but France stayed in an effort to gain Mexican territory.

France stormed the small Mexican town, Puebla de Los Angeles, with 6,000 troops. Mexican President Benito Juarez gathered 2,000 troops to hold off France. Juarez’ men were not only drastically outnumbered, but they also lacked the proper supplies needed to hold off the French troops.

On May 5, 1867 the Battle of Puebla took place and less than 100 Mexicans were killed in the fight. The battle went into the evening, but French troops left the scene after losing over 400 troops. The Battle of Puebla was seen as a symbolic victory for Mexican government, and Cinco de Mayo is a cause for celebration in the Mexican state of Puebla.

The U.S. celebrates Cinco de Mayo through recreations of the Battle of Puebla, festivities and military parades, but other parts of Mexico don’t celebrate the holiday. It isn’t even a federal holiday, so places like banks and offices remain open on May 5.

Although many places in Mexico don’t observe Cinco de Mayo, there will be plenty of events going on throughout the country, including in downtown Denver attended by a large number of Mexican-born citizens. The 31st Anniversary Cinco de Mayo Festival will be taking place at Civic Center Park on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, and there will be three stages for live music and entertainment, headlined by Konzentido de Afid Ferrer and Kinto Sol. The event is family friendly, and there will be games and inflatable rides for children.

The Cinco de Mayo Parade will also be held on May 5, and it begins at 11 a.m. For more information and to see the parade route, visit





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