The City of Santa Monica’s Virginia Avenue Park hosted a free Cinco de Mayo fiesta and carnival Sunday, May 1 from 12 to 5 p.m. Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco, a 10-member group and a 10-piece salsa band, Bomba Chante provided energetic music. Ballet Folklorico, Grupo La Rosa, comprised of 20 local youth dancers, and Mictlanxiucoatl Aztec dance group also performed.
Attendees enjoyed food from the Border Grill taco truck, Gourmet Quickie Hot Dogs, specialty ice cream bars (paletas), kettle korn and more. The weather cooperated, resulting in a perfect Santa Monica spring day of sunshine with a cool ocean breeze.
Award-winning performance artist Maria Elena Gaitan served as the Master of Ceremonies, bringing the history of Cinco de Mayo to the stage through her humor. Art vendors and City services booths provided information and an array of cultural arts. For the first time, Virginia Avenue Park hosted carnival rides and games, an apparent draw to hundreds of families. “This festival was all about ‘familia’ and we were happy to see over 2,000 people enjoy not only the event, but one another through dance and reunions with old friends,” said Betty Macias, Senior Program Analyst with the City and producer of the entertainment.