PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland's Cinco De Mayo Festival is back this weekend after a three-year hiatus because of the pandemic. The three-day event will return to Tom McCall Waterfront and run Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.
"[I'm looking forward to] all the food, the music, the people, the liveliness and the community, most importantly. Because I think that's what the Pacific Northwest is all about," said Ulices Cardenas, who plans to attend the fiesta.
It will feature performances by a Mexican folk dancing troupe and internationally known mariachi bands and singers, including Edna Vazquez and Portland-area groups like Conjunto Alegre. There will also be carnival rides and cultural crafts and games for kids.
The fiesta is the largest multicultural festival in Oregon.
A vendor told KGW the past three years have been difficult as they rely on these types of festivals for their livelihood.
"Yes, it's been difficult," said Ciro Flores Flores, the owner of Jugos & Frutas Tropicales. "I would imagine a lot of people were frustrated they couldn't go out to these events. So, we're here waiting for you all!"
The uptick in foot traffic also boosts sales for businesses nearby.
"I mean we’re definitely prepared. We got the patios out — suns out. We’re excited to have people in," said Nick Mobley the general manager at Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen off Southwest Taylor Street and 2nd Avenue. "We’re happy for business. We’re always welcoming people coming in. We're very excited for returning customers coming downtown. It's great for the city, great for business."
In previous years, the Cinco De Mayo Festival attracted more than 80,000 people. Organizers are hoping for the same outcome this year.
"We like to bring the culture, the artisans, the music of Guadalajara to the citizens of Portland," said Rick Lamberson, President of Portland's Guadalajara Sisters Association. "So that we can have a party for the weekend. And that's really what we've missed the most."
You can buy your tickets early here online.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexico's Independence Day. However, the holiday celebrates Mexico's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Many Americans see Cinco de Mayo as a reason to enjoy Mexican food and drinks.