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Cinco de Mayo longtime Victoria tradition

By Jessica Rodrigo
May 1, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.


IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Cinco de Mayo

• WHEN: Noon to 11 p.m. Saturday

• WHERE: DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria

• COST: Free, but there will be vendors with food and merchandise. No coolers will be allowed.

•  For more information: victoriachamber.org or call 361-573-5277.

Lisa Hernandez remembers a time when Mexican and Latino music filled her childhood home.

The horns, accordions and ballads are living traditions of the music that came from Mexico. That same type of music will fill the air Saturday during the Cinco de Mayo celebration sponsored by the Minority Business Council and Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

The event is another tradition, Hernandez, chairwoman of the business council, said, remembering 25 years ago when the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce started the event in DeLeon Plaza.

"It was like a reunion," she said. "I would travel back to Victoria from Austin to see my friends and family."

She has since made her home in Victoria, and she is keeping the tradition alive with help from the chamber.

"There's a lot of family fun," said Christine Blain, director of special events with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. "We have a lot of games and inflatables for kids to partake in, and high school mariachis and ballet folklorico."

The kids' area has grown since its start. This year, the children's entertainment will be the biggest it has ever been.

Admission to the event is free, but activities and vendors may cost.

More than 40 vendors with food or merchandise will fill the closed off downtown square, Blain said.

The food is something Hernandez said her children always get excited about.

"They love the food," she said. "There is always an array of food."

The Minority Business Council not only helps area businesses, Hernandez said, but it helps spread the awareness of the different cultures in the area.

Money from the beer sales will cover expenses of the event and operations, but the remainder will go back to the area.

"We're supporting our Hispanic community," she said. "A good portion of that money is for scholarships."

The scholarships stay in Victoria, she said.

To help Victoria celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Jay Perez "La Voz" will headline the live music venue. The stage will be along Forrest Street between One O'Connor Plaza and DeLeon Plaza.

Other performers include A.S.G. Los Amigos and Elida Reyna y Avante, Presion, Grupo Vida and 24-7, a group that debuted at the festival five years ago, Hernandez said.

But her favorite part of the event takes her back to her roots.

"What I love the most is the mariachis," she said. "They don't have all these fancy instruments like all these bands nowadays, they just have the traditional guitar and violin and the traditional ballet folklorico that goes back to the traditional heart of Mexico and Spain."

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