Thousands of people show up to enjoy the beautiful weather and nice festivities.


Taco meat sizzled and the warm hum of mariachi instruments echoed through the streets of downtown Phoenix on Sunday at the 24th annual Cinco De Mayo Phoenix Festival.

Hundreds walked from booth to booth at the festival, celebrating the holiday commemorating Mexico’s victory in the Battle of Puebla. 

The event included a Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera costume contest and appearances from California-based Latin American funk band, War, Latin R&B band Tierra and soul singer Brenton Wood.

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Blaire Russell was among the festival-goers, sporting a bright red T-shirt reading “Akimel A-al Middle School Spanish Club.” A teacher at the school, Russell said she brought a group of her students to the festival.


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“It’s just more of a cultural experience for them,” Russell said. “(It’s important) to open kids’ minds and realize that not everything is not all the same. People are different all over the world. That’s why I’m a Spanish teacher.”

She said she makes an effort to bring her students to cultural events throughout the year, but was particularly excited to see the traditional Mexican dancing, the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestlers and the mariachi bands.

The mariachi band, adorned in gold and black uniforms, wandered around the festival and were playing traditional Mexican serenades. 

But a major focus of the event was the plethora of vendors serving street tacos, brisket, kettle corn, fry bread, raspados (Mexican-style snow cones), fruit with tajin seasoning and more.

The El Hefe taqueria was a new addition to the food line-up, and one vendor Carmen Love, account and event executive for Cinco Phoenix, said she was particularly excited about the addition

RELATED: More Mexican-Americans saying ‘meh’ to Cinco de Mayo

Owner Julio Rodriguez flipped chicken and beef on the griddle and served tacos to throngs of people.

He explained that while he was most excited about serving their classic carne asada tacos, he was introducing their more traditional mole tacos at the festival for the first time.

“Mole, it’s a lot of spices, it’s chocolate, it’s herbs, it’s peppers, there’s a lot of peppers on it. So we crush … we mix that all together and shred the chicken with sauce on top of it.”

The day also included performances from the Mexican wrestling group, Lucha Libre, live painting and childrens activities from a group of Latina artists, the Phoenix Fridas, a low-rider and classic vehicles display, scholarship giveaways and traditional folk dancing.

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