Whereas, the Fifth of May is a day especially fitting to recall the common sacrifices of all peoples dedicated to the institution of freedom, be it resolved by the Assembly of the State of California that members on behalf of the people of California convey their deepest respects to our American neighbor to the south, and congratulate them on Cinco de Mayo.
--California State Resolution
This year's Cinco de Mayo marks the 124th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, where on May 5, 1862, defending Mexican soldiers, led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated the invading troops of Napoleon III.
Although the victory was muted more than a year later by a successful siege of Puebla and capture of Mexico City by heavily reinforced French troops, Cinco de Mayo has become a symbol of the struggle for liberty and is a holiday of national pride for Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent.
There will be many celebrations of this day throughout the Southland, and among them are the 10 that follow:
El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, Olvera Street, 845 N. Alameda St., Downtown Los Angeles. Information: (213) 466-8462. Friday, 6 p.m. to midnight. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, noon to midnight. Olvera Street and the Old Plaza will be the setting for a "living memorial to the multiethnic history and tradition of California." Highlights: 1. A ribbon cutting with leading city officials attending. 2. Mariachis and folklore music, plus major local and international Latino talent performing from three stages. 3. Olvera Street's colorful shops featuring imported Mexican items.
Salt Lake Park, 3401 E. Florence Ave., Huntington Park. Information: (213) 466-3434 (Channel 34). Sunday, 1-6 p.m. Channel 34, sponsor of Fiesta Mexicana, will air coverage the same day at 8 p.m. Highlights: 1. A major concert with Latino stars, including Alberto Vazquez and Maria de Lourdes; composer Manuel Esteron; music stars Humberto Cravioto and Cruz and Irma Infante, son and daughter of Pedro Infante, and an appearance as well by Diana Negrete, daughter of Jorge Negrete. Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete were stars from the golden years of Mexican films. 2. Satiric-verse comedian Tacho will tell Mexican-style stories. 3. Los Galleros will accompany most of the performers.
Belvedere County Park, 4914 E. Brooklyn Ave., East Los Angeles. Information: (213) 268-9391. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Baseball, softball and soccer tournaments will run concurrently with the celebration. Highlights: 1. Children's activities will be the Teatro de los Puppets. 2. Entertainment with the Renee Victor Show, Tierra, Floricanto Dance Theater, Pia Montoya, Groupo Folklorico de UCLA, Oscar Nieto's Dance Theater, Tina Maria Salinas, Roxanna Bonilli Giannini, Richard Yniquez, Placita de Los Ninos and a senior citizen dance. 3. A "Little Miss Cinco de Mayo" contest is open to all 5-year-old girls.
Gardena Parade, Gardena Boulevard between Estrella and Normandie avenues, Gardena. Information: (213) 327-0302. Saturday, noon into the evening hours. Streets will be closed in a six-block area near Menlo Avenue and Vermont Boulevard, sidewalk sales and booths with food will be an added attraction to the parade and festival. Highlights: 1. Uniformed marching bands and drill teams from community schools will perform. 2. Raffle drawings will have prizes that include a trip to Hawaii, dinners for two at local restaurants, cassette tapes and lottery tickets. 3. The oldest Spanish resident of the Gardena community, John Ayala, will be honored during the parade.
Miles Avenue School, 6720 Miles Ave., Huntington Park. Information: (213) 588-8296. Friday, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Many of the elementary, junior high and high schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District will have events similar to this one, with activities ranging from Mexican music to the re-enactment of the Battle of Puebla. Highlights: 1. Ethnic dances from such countries as El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Japan and China will be performed by students. 2. The Miles Folklorico Group will perform. 3. A group of teachers will present international music and dancing.
Lincoln Park, 3501 Valley Blvd., Los Angeles. Information: (213) 222-4780. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the community's young people, providing scholarships, trips and organized sports events in the year ahead. Highlights: 1. Salsa and traditional Mexican music will be performed by Jose Feliciano, Tierra and Los Lobos. 2. Free balloons, puppet shows, roaming clowns and a makeup artist, who will create a lot of little clowns. 3. All volunteer workers will be dressed in traditional Mexican costumes, and everyone who attends is encouraged to do the same.