It had been a few days since May 5th, but Vallejo had no problem celebrating the Cinco de Mayo downtown on Saturday morning.
After a year hiatus due to the COVID-19 2020 pandemic, a live Cinco de Mayo event hosted by the Solano Aids Coalition returned.
The event was packed with dancers, musicians, a kids’ zone, and guest speakers in the parking lot and sidewalk on Santa Clara Street near Georgia Street. Citizens who passed by were not only greeted with a day of entertainment, but also educated on the holidays, which is not the day Mexico gained independence (that is in September). Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War.
“I am very happy to be back and I am delighted that we are celebrating this event again in person,” said Mario Saucedo, President of the Solano Aids Coalition. “I’m glad to have that, and I’m glad to have members of the city government and council here today. I’m happy because Vallejo is such a diverse city, but sometimes the Hispanic population is scared of getting downtown. The purpose of this event today is to unite everyone and show the community our wonderful heritage and celebrate this holiday.
“We also have a lot of nonprofits here today and our ultimate goal is to educate the community about our culture,” Saucedo continued. “We all have beautiful cultures and can learn so much from each other.”
The Trio Mariachi Zamora Band will perform at the Cinco de Mayo event in downtown Vallejo on Saturday. The event was organized by the Solano Aids Coalition. (Thomas Gase – Times-Herald)
The main sponsors of the event included the Vallejo Hollistic Health Center and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Solano. Shortly after 10 a.m., a crowd gathered to watch the band Trio Mariachi Zamora. They would also occur later in the day. The three-piece band consisted of a guitarist, singer, bassist and an accordion player.
At 11 a.m., dancers from the ballet Folklorico Quetzalli de American Canyon and Vallejo entertained the crowd with multiple performances made up of clothes more colorful than a Bob Ross toolbox. The ballet Folklorico Moon Azteca could also be seen.
“This event is still great fun and I’m happy to dance in front of people today,” said Vallejo dancer Elizabeth Uribe. “It felt good to perform today and show our culture. I’m relatively new to it as I’ve only been doing this for a year. Some of the dances from some regions of Mexico are difficult to do, others are a little easier. “
Edlyn Romo, 13, has been dancing for eight years.
“My favorite performance is the Sinaloa because of the different steps,” said Romo. “I was happy to be back as this is my first live performance in over a year. I also like the way we can dress up for these gigs. “
Shown are members of the Ballet Folklorico Quetzalli de American Canyon and Vallejo group. They performed at the Cinco de Mayo event in downtown Vallejo on Saturday. (Thomas Gase – Times-Herald)
The event was also attended by a number of speakers, including Mina Diaz, a member of Vallejo City Council who, when she was elected in November, was the first Latina woman in her history.
“These events are important for many, many different reasons,” Diaz said in English and Spanish. “They form a unit. You build a cultural awareness. It’s a way to respect each other’s differences. This city has so much potential, but we haven’t seen much progress over the years. The city council we have right now is the most diverse we’ve had and we have five women on the city council.
“As Mario said, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day and a lot of people are so confused,” continued Diaz. “Why this matters is that we’ll have another event later in September during Hispanic History Month. But right now we are celebrating a battle of Puebla in which the Mexican people defeated the French army. Why this matters is that we had everything against us, but we still prevailed. “
Diaz recently spoke about Vallejo’s fighting but was optimistic that the tide would soon turn for the better.
“There’s no denying that we’ve had problems, but remember that we’re stronger together,” said Diaz. “We all want the same thing – a prosperous city that is safe to live in. This is our city, let’s take it back.”
On Saturday, Edgar Rosales, who represented US Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena.
“As we celebrate the Battle of Puebla and the Mexican Army, an unlikely victory over the French Empire is unlikely,” said Rosales on behalf of Thompson. “This was a turning point and a great source of pride and patriotism for Mexico. It is also a reminder of the deep and lasting bond between our two nations. Here in our district, it is an opportunity to celebrate the local Mexican community and the many contributions they have made to our society.