Better late than never: Cinco de Mayo fiesta livens up downtown

Chuyenne Ramos performs a traditional dance with the Ballet Folklorico Raices during the Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday.

No one seemed to mind celebrating Cinco de Mayo nine days late on Saturday in Grand Junction.

Crowds swelled at the Colorado Avenue event as the sun appeared through breaks in rain showers.

Recording artist Jenna Martinez from northern New Mexico wooed the crowds with Latino music on Saturday and later sold about 30 CDs. Martinez was invited to the festival by Richard Sandoval, who plays her music on radio station KAFM.

“He said it was a really great festival, and it is a good decision to be here,” she said between bites of corn on a stick.

The Latin Anglo Alliance has been organizing the event for the about the last three decades, organizer Mike Archuleta said.

May 5 is the date commemorating the Mexican militia’s victory over the French army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

“I think it’s one of the oldest festivals in Grand Junction,” he said, while selling tickets.

Proceeds from the celebration go toward education scholarships for youths. Last year the organization awarded eight scholarships, Archuleta said.

The gathering has become a staple in the Grand Junction community for folks to meet up, he said.

Archuleta’s uncle, who lives in California, attended the event this year to see if he could meet up with childhood friends. It didn’t take too long for him to see some familiar faces, his nephew said.

“It’s kind of like an event if you haven’t seen each other for a year, you see each other at Cinco de Mayo,” Archuleta said.


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