No one knows for certain how many people attended Sunday’s epic Cinco de Mayo celebration in Richmond, but by all accounts the event appeared to be a total success.
Some attendees say possibly tens of thousands of people showed up for the annual party on 23rd Street.
When the event began winding down at around 4:30 p.m., the crowds had hardly waned. Folks left peacefully when police announced the festival’s end.
The daylong celebration, which in its eighth year has become a source of pride for Richmond, was described as peaceful and family-friendly, with bubbles from toy guns filling the air.
The event was “alcohol-free, with activities for kids and amazing entertainment,” said Rosa Lara, the president of the 23rd Street Merchants Association, which hosts the annual celebration. Lara said her association is truly grateful for the festival’s wonderful sponsors.
Aside from the great musical bands, a wrestling ring at Humphrey Ave. hosted Lucha libre matches, while a train on wheels circled with children at Andrade Ave.
The food was again a top highlight. Many booths sold such delicious fare as elote asado (roasted corn), tostadas, tacos, pollo asado, chicarrones, and mango or cucumber with hot sauce.
Revelers who may have felt overly full had the option of a free health screening, courtesy of Life Long, Doctors Medical Center and Walgreen’s, Lara said. Information on schools, job training and other programs were also offered at the festival, she added.
Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus also called the festival a success. He wasn’t pleased that the event received very little media coverage:
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Cinco de Mayo is the holiday commemorating the Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The video below offers a nice summary of the holiday’s roots.