Oklahoma City’s growing Cinco de Mayo celebration was set to move to Scissortail Park this year with attendance expected to top 20,000. However, like many other things, COVID-19 caused that to change.
The Mexican holiday commemorates a battle more than 150 years ago where a small group of soldiers and townspeople fought off a massive French army in the town of Puebla, Mexico. The city is now one of Oklahoma City’s sister cities.
“What we try to do in Oklahoma City is make sure that we remember the connection with Puebla, that we try to do things in a very authentic way and make sure people can have a really relevant experience,” festival organizer Robert Ruiz said.
He said the Scissortail Community Development Corporation had already paid a deposit for the headline performer and had sponsorships for the event lined up.
“What we're doing is basically postponing that until our fall festival, which is the Fiestas Patrias Festival, which will be Sunday September 13th,” Ruiz said.
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said one way to celebrate Tuesday is to safely support locally owned Hispanic businesses.
“Go visit those restaurants, go celebrate Cinco de Mayo,” Greater OKC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President David Castillo said. “Visit the small mom and pop restaurants. Let's help them out. They’re really in need as well.”
“A big deal would be just looking up the history of Cinco de Mayo, learning more about Puebla learning more about our sister city relationship between Oklahoma City and Puebla,” Ruiz said.
The Oklahoma City metro is home to more than 100,000 people of Mexican descent. Ruiz said many of them are young and have recently arrived.
“Children in the United States are, of course, going to become acculturated and assimilated,” he said. ”What we try to do as a community development corporation, is make sure the kids have opportunities to have shared experiences with their parents and make sure that they can experience the cultural and traditions of their families to maintain some of those connections.”
While the public events are free, proceeds from both the Cinco de Mayo festival and the Fiestas Patrias Festival benefit cultural arts programs in low income areas. Click here to learn more about those programs.