Cinco de Mayo, the commemoration of the Mexican army's victory over the French on May 5, 1862, will be celebrated with music, costumes, and dance throughout Northwest Ohio this weekend.
The largest event will be at Swan Creek Preserve Metropark (Airport Highway entrance), Sunday from 2-6:30 p.m. In case of rain, events will occur under large tents erected for the occasion.
This family festival is put on by Adelante, Inc., the Hispanic-targeted drug rehabilitation and treatment facility, and by the Toledo Area Metroparks. Performers include Jose Martinez y Mariachico Tropical at 2:30 p.m.; Corazon de Mexico dance troupe at 3:25 p.m. and Imagenes Mexicanas dancers at 3:50 p.m.
And for dancing, the popular Fremont band, Los Cuatro Vientos de Jimmy Bejarano, will play from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The family band has been performing for 15 years. It specializes in a tejano style called conjunto, characterized by an accordion and bajo sexto (12-string bass guitar).
Once considered the music of the poor migrant worker, conjunto blends elements of polkas and waltzes with indigenous Mexican rhythms and melodies.
Los Cuatros Vientos (The Four Winds) are regular performers at the five-day Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio.
Complimentary refreshments will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, said Celso Rodriguez, chairman of Adelante's board.
Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May) has become the largest Mexican festival in the north and Midwest, but in Mexico and the southern United States, Sept. 16, Mexico's independence day, is the largest celebration, said Mr. Rodriguez.
People of Hispanic heritage number more than 35 million in the United States, about the same number as people of African heritage, according to the census of 2000.
In West Toledo, the 13th annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta begins today with an ox roast and tailgate fiesta at 5 p.m. at BW-3 Grill & Pub, 2111 Mellwood Ave. Tomorrow's events begin at 2 p.m. with an introduction by Judge Joseph Flores.
Entertainment includes Jose Martinez and group at 2:30 p.m.; comic-impressionist Johnny Ginger at 3 p.m.; and Homero Ortiz singing the folk songs of the late Cornelio Reyna at 4 p.m.
A Jalapeno pepper-eating contest will take place about 5 p.m., said Izzy Ortiz, the event's promoter.
The name-that-tune game will be played at about 6 p.m. And at 9 p.m., La Familia band, which includes accordion, plays tejano, polka, cumbia, merenga, and salsa for dancing, said Mr. Ortiz.
Other events include: