Just below the six flags that once flew over Texas, luchadores and luchadoras climbed into the ring for a Cinco de Mayo celebration Sunday.
Postponed from the rain-drenched Saturday prior, the Cinco de Mayo Street Dance brought wrestlers, musicians, food vendors and people from Victoria to DeLeon Plaza to celebrate a moment in Mexican history made possible by a Crossroads native.
Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza, the Mexican general during the battle in Puebla, Mexico, was born in 1829 at La Bahia in what is now Goliad. Of the six flags over Texas, Zaragoza’s birth came when much of present day Texas was part of Mexico. He would then go on to fight another country whose flag once claimed Texas as its own.
Often confused with Mexican independence, Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory in battle over the French on May 5, 1862.
Zaragoza would go on to become considered a hero at the battle which “rekindled the spirit of the Mexican people to win and preserve their independence,” according to the Texas State Historical Association.
On Sunday, three days before Cinco de Mayo, the people of Victoria took to the plaza to celebrate the local history just as many communities in Mexico and Texas do each year.
Drawing people on every side of the ring, luchadores and luchadoras fought one another with yelling fans taking to their feet.
Ryaopotosino is a fighter from Houston and originally from San Luis, Mexico. On Sunday, he took home a win among his fellow luchadores, but he said whenever he travels he reminds the kids watching to continue doing the right thing.
“I was this close,” he said leaving an inch between his fingers, “to completing my high school in Mexico. So I always try to tell kids to stay in school and out of trouble.”
While still wearing his green and black mask, he said he had been fighting for 20 years and talking with people wherever he traveled to for a fight. At 52 years old, he said he can still win even with broken bones and other injuries in the past.
Among his fellow fighters, he said he is one of the good guys.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration also benefited Tejano radio station Majic 95’s Turkeys and Toys drive for families in need.
One of the sponsors, Glazer’s Beer and Beverage, took proceeds from drink sales and donated them to Turkeys and Toys, said general manager Joseph Nieto.
Since Glazer’s bought Hartman Distributing as of Oct. 30, the Cinco de Mayo event is the first the business has been able to have a presence at because of COVID-19, he said.
Also in the plaza Sunday were other mainstays to Mexican-American celebrations including decorative papel picado flags, elotes, barbecue and many people wearing Mexican flag themed attire.
Toward the end of the night, tejano bands took the stage on Forrest Street including local and nationally recognized musicians.
The celebration was “probably one of the largest in months,” said city Parks Department worker Brittany Dworaczyk.
Cinco de Mayo is also a big event she said the city has hosted in the past and plans to have in the future.