Still packing them in
By ANGIE HAFLICH
Music filled the air Sunday at El Remedio Market, where 2,000 to 3,000 people enjoyed the warm weather and ate elotes at the local Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Cinco de Mayo is the remembrance of the Mexican militia's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Garden City's Mexican-American community marks the occasion with a celebration around May 5
This year's festivities took place from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday and featured the bands, Son Lagunero, Sangre Nortena and El Enperador; solo performer, Benito Dominguez; and Folklorico, a dance group from Garden City High School. DJ De Leon played music in between acts.
"People already have the idea that it's going to be here, and when they hear the music and they start dancing, it's fun," Juan Andrade, owner of El Remedio said.
At first, the crowd resembled a junior high dance, where everyone stood around the parking lot of El Remedio as Son Lagunero played Mexican music, so Andrade began offering free T-shirts to anyone who found the nerve to dance.
Andrade has been hosting the Cinco de Mayo festivities for the past 20 years.
"It gets really packed in here. People can't even get inside," Andrade said.
Gerardo and Angelica Zamudio and their three kids enjoyed elotes inside the market, where others ate mangos on sticks or fruit cups.
Nine-year-old America Zamudio said elotes, which are corn on the cob with mayo and cheese or cheese with chili powder, are her favorite thing to eat.
"I have cream and cheese," she said.
Her little sister, 7-year-old Wendy Zamudio, said it tasted creamy.
After enjoying the elotes, the girls, along with little brother, 5-year-old Abraham Zamudio, played tag with other kids, making use of the otherwise empty dance floor. Eventually, an older couple danced together, in an attempt to show the younger crowd how to do it. And as the festivities continued, more and more people took to the floor.
Sunday morning, Andrade worked on some of the finishing touches prior to the start of the event. He said that they usually begin planning the event at the beginning of the year.
"Because we start calling the bands and performers and all that and get ready for setting everything, so at the last minute, we don't rush. Because, gosh, if you wait until the last minute you can't do anything," Andrade said. "We really like to do this. People like us to do it, and everybody calls and calls and asks what time it's going to be and who's going to play. It is busy."
Andrade's wife, Alicia Andrade, son Danny Andrade and daughter Diana Andrade help with the event, along with employees of the market. Alicia and Diana prepared the mangos on sticks and the fruit cocktails.
Angie Alvarez was enjoying the festivities with her mother and two daughters.
"It's pretty awesome, but we're from Lubbock, Texas, and theirs is about 20 times bigger than this. But this is sweet. It's nice for a little community," she said. "Here, there's a lot of music and a lot of dancing and a lot games for the kids and adults, making fools out of themselves, but it gets them up and at it."
The games and other activities make it a family-friendly event.
"I got a game we call, 'Find Your Mom,' so we put like five ladies and then we pick five little kids, and then they cover up their eyes and they're supposed to find them like that," Andrade said, laughing, as he demonstrated two little hands reaching for their mother's chest area.
A popular contest for the adults involves eating whole jalapenos.
"We put about 10 jalapenos on five plates, and we have about five different persons, and whoever finishes that first, we give away a prize. And those things are hot, you know? After that, they start sweating. We can't give them too many (jalapenos) because it would hurt. It is fun just to have something to have the people enjoy because they start laughing," Andrade said, laughing himself.