Outsiders Car Club upholds Cinco de Mayo fest tradition

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They are a highly anticipated, highly visible attraction at the Cinco de Mayo Festival on 23rd Street.

They are the stunning, classic cars lined up in the parking lot of a mini-shopping center at 23rd and Wendell Avenue.

Tens of thousands of people who attend the annual festival admire the row of cars as they pass the intersection, but few are aware of the long-standing tradition that makes the show possible.

This weekend, Outsiders Car Club will be back, first participating in Saturday’s parade on 23rd Street, and then with its annual show on Sunday at the 23rd Street Merchants Association Cinco de Mayo Festival sponsored by Chevron Richmond.

The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is considered among the state’s best, bringing three entertainment stages, 26 food vendors and over 100,000 attendees to 23rd between Clinton and Rheem avenues.

For years, a club known as the Raza Unida Car Club put on car shows in the community, participated in food and toy drives and displayed their vehicles in the shopping center parking lot during the Cinco de Mayo festival. About four years ago, the club, which has been around since the late 1970s, lost its name for legal reasons, and older members retired.

The club was handed down to Junior, nephew of the founders and a Kennedy High alum, who renamed it the Outsiders Car Club. There’s also an affiliated bicycle club. While the name has changed, the mission is similar: To gather over a love for cars and community.

The Outsiders Car Club continues to participate in various community functions, from Cinco de Mayo to Trunk or Treat. It has a strong partnership with community leaders on 23rd Street, including John Marquez and Diego Garcia.

The club puts on the shows for free, Junior said.

“We do it because we’re from the city of Richmond it gives us the ability to show our Pride and Purpose,” Junior said.

The 23rd Street Cinco de Mayo festival could be the largest – and most peaceful – in the Bay Area. Check out our story earlier this week about its history as a family-friendly event. But it also serves an important purpose of providing exposure for 23rd Street businesses and Richmond in general.

“What I like about the festival is it gives a chance not only to small businesses but people starting things in the city to showcase themselves,” Junior said.

Make sure to stop by Sunday and say hello to Junior and the rest of his club.

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