A new local organization with a mission of embracing the community’s diversity is setting out to bring Cinco de Mayo back to downtown Garden City.

The Cultural Empowerment & Development Foundation is sponsoring a series of events this week in observance of the annual holiday, which marks the occasion of the Mexican army’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

With events geared toward education, entertainment, wellness and recreation, the foundation is looking to make Cinco de Mayo a larger, community celebration, as it used to be when the local GI Forum organized the annual festivities.

The GI Forum began organizing a community Cinco de Mayo celebration in the 1980s, and for many years events included a parade, a queen pageant and festivities in Stevens Park and the Finney County Exhibition Building. But the celebration, over time, lost momentum.

It's been nearly a decade since the GI Forum last held a Cinco de Mayo parade and festivities downtown, and the last Cinco de Mayo parade on Main Street was in 2016, when it was held in conjunction with the observance of Dia del Niño.

But the foundation, whose mission is “to empower our community by enhancing their knowledge… recognizing our community elders and our veterans, and embracing cultural diversity in non-partisan events,” is looking to jump-start a community Cinco de Mayo celebration once again.

Four days of events will kick off Wednesday, when the foundation hosts a free veterans appreciation dinner at 6 p.m. at the American Legion, 405 S. Main St. Veterans eat free and can RSVP for the dinner by contacting Harold Orosco at (620) 260-0945.

On Thursday, the celebration continues with an educational seminar from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clarion Inn, 1911 E. Kansas Ave. The free homebuyer seminar will include presentations on renting vs. buying, home financing, how to start a business, home security, cybersecurity and fire safety. For more information on the seminar, call foundation president Liset Cruz at (620) 521-1620 or Orosco at (620) 260-0945.

The focus shifts to entertainment and wellness over the weekend, starting with a 5K Run to Overcome Diabetes, with check-in at 8 a.m. Saturday and the run starting at 8:30 a.m. outside Lee Richardson Zoo in Finnup Park.

Events then move downtown, with a parade on Main Street at 10 a.m., followed by festivities and food vendors in Stevens Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A 3-on-3 basketball tournament is scheduled for 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Carlos Bribiesca Basketball Courts in Finnup Park. To register, call Mauricio Romero at (620) 521-3690 or stop by Mauricio Romero Agency, 1021 Fleming St., Suite F.

The celebration winds down Sunday, with a 5-on-5 soccer tournament beginning at 9 a.m. at Garcia Soccer Fields. The tournament will feature different age divisions and divisions for men, women and coed teams. For more information, or to register, contact Romero at (620) 521-3690 or stop by Mauricio Romero Agency.

For more information about the Cinco de Mayo celebration, contact Cruz at (620) 521-1620.

The foundation’s events aren’t the only Cinco de Mayo festivities in town this weekend, though, as El Remedio will once again be hosting its annual celebration in the parking lot of the store, 1005 E. Fulton St. The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and will include live music, dancing, contests and authentic Mexican food. For more information, call (620) 275-2132.

 

Contact Brett Riggs at briggs@gctelegram.com.