This year’s 13th annual Cinco de Mayo festival in Kennett Square will be the biggest one yet, with more than 15,000 visitors expected.
“There will be people coming in from Maryland, Harrisburg and New Jersey,” said Arturo Gomez Rubio, coordinator for this year’s festival. “The festival has almost outgrown its venue.”
The festival will be held in downtown Kennett Square on State and Broad streets on May 4 from noon to about 5 p.m. There is no admission charge. Though it’s traditionally a festival celebrating Mexican culture, Rubiosaid it’s open to the entire community.
“This festival is for the community,” he said. “It’s non-profit, and in the past it has been a resounding success. It’s a family event, not a beer fest.”
The festival will feature traditional Mexican food like Mexican corn on the cob, Mexican hot dogs, elotes (roasted corn on the cob), ice cream, rice pudding, chili and mushrooms.
Rubio said about 120 businesses will set up shop and about 20,000 people are expected. Last year, 80 businesses and 15,000 visitors attended.
There will be representatives from 11 local educational institutions that are setting up booths, including Penn State, Drexel, Swarthmore, Kutztown University, Immaculata University, Chester County Technic al College, and Lincoln University.
Univision, the largest Spanish TV station in the country, has committed $50,000 in free air time for Cinco de Mayo. Rubio said TV stations have been fighting for the right to televise the festival.
The festival features authentic Mexican food, music, entertainment and children’s activities. Local artists will also be on hand.
“The dream we share is to be a multicultural center for Kennett Square, for recreation and expressive arts,” Rubio said. “Our aim is to strengthen the relationship of local organizations.”
Since 2006, the festival has been sponsored by Casa Guanajuato, a group promoting Mexican culture.
Cinco de Mayo today is observed in America as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It was originally celebrated by Mexican communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.
Cinco de Mayo, or the Fifth of May, commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, where French soldiers tried to capture the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe in Puebla de Los Angeles, Mexico. Mexicans fought back and held the fort.