ALAMOSA — The SLV Brewing Company, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and the City of Alamosa will present a free community block party on Saturday to celebrate local heritage through music, dance, food, drinks and good conversation.
On Saturday, May 5th, the block of San Juan Ave between Fourth and Main Street, located next to the SLV Brewing Company in downtown Alamosa, will be blocked off for a community celebration of Cinco de Mayo from 5-10:30 p.m.
Starting at 5:30 p.m. Los Vecinos Bailadores, will be performing several traditional Spanish dances. At 6:30 p.m. Las Semillas de la Tierra will be showcasing their traditional Folklorico dances. Then from 8-10:30 p.m. Indian Nickel will fill the street with the sound of Spanish Rock.
There will be outdoor seating set up for dining, but folks are encouraged to bring folding chairs and come early for the best seating for the live performances. Enjoy specialty drinks from the SLV Brewery and A&L Coors beer garden, including six Mexican beer styles, Margaritas, and Sangria. SLV Brewing will be offering chicken, steak, and carnitas fajitas with homemade tortilla soup at their outdoor food tent.
The first 150 people to stop by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area table will receive a free commemorative Cinco de Mayo T-shirt. Shirts are sponsored by Adams State University, L&M Auto Sales, Alamosa Family Dentistry, SLV Sports and Wellness, Schulz Realty, Robert Gallegos Graphic Design and the Bankshot.
A well-known local cookie, the biscochito is connected to the history of Cinco de Mayo. The cookie was originally brought over from the Spanish and adopted by the people of Mexico. When the Mexican army overthrew the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, the Mexican women decided they would come up with a commemorative cookie for the impressive victory. They chose the biscochito. The women used tin cans to cut the cookies shapes to symbolize stamping out the French during the Battle of Puebla. Come celebrate freedom and bravery with a free biscochito!
Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico but in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.
In anticipation of the big day Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area shares the following 10 interesting facts about Cinco de Mayo:
Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. It was an unlikely win for the Mexican militia who were heavily outnumbered by the French. The victory became a source of pride for the country and is the reason it is celebrated today.
Although the Mexican Army won the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 the French went on to win the war, occupying the region for five years.
For the leader of France, Napoleon III, the battle at Puebla was an attempt at not only spreading his empire but at conquering a key Mexican access point to the U.S., where he intended to lend support to the confederate army during the Civil War in an effort to keep the U.S. divided and consequently less powerful.
Abraham Lincoln sympathized with the Mexican cause during the French occupation but was unable to lend direct support to the nation due to the U.S. Civil War, which was taking place at the same time. When the Civil War finally ended, the U.S. forced France to withdraw its troops from Mexico and their empire collapsed.
Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico and is a relatively minor holiday outside of Puebla, Veracruz and the United States. In Puebla and Veracruz, however, Cinco de Mayo is a very important state holiday celebrated with parades, festivals and reenactments.
Cinco de Mayo became a popular holiday in the U.S. after President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 to improve relations with Latin American countries.
According to the California Avocado Commission, Americans consume up to 81 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo every year. Holy guacamole!
Los Angeles, California! Other U.S. cities that throw big celebrations for Cinco de Mayo are Denver, New York, Phoenix and Houston.
One U.S. city celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a Chihuahua race. Can you guess which city? It’s Chandler, Arizona. Even Vancouver celebrates, marking the day with a “skydiving boogie” that consists of aerial acrobatics and an air show.
According to the Daily Meal, the United States consumes twice as much tequila as Mexico, where the spirit originated.
The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area preserves, protects and promotes the heritage of Colorado’s first Hispano, agricultural and railroad communities and natural wonders. As stewards of this nationally significant location, SdCNHA aims to preserve and share the unique stories, cultures and landscapes of the San Luis Valley. With over 10,000 years of documented human habitation, this is where Colorado began. In 2009 congress declared the counties of Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla along with Great Sand Dunes National Park, Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, Alamosa Wildlife Refuge and Baca Wildlife refuge to be a National Heritage Area.
For more information on SdCNHA visit www.sdcnha.org. A special thanks to this culturally rich community, and to Cinco de Mayo partners at SLV Brewing Company, www.slvbrewco.com and the City of Alamosa, www.cityofalamosa.org for making this celebration possible. Thanks to event sponsors Adams State University, L&M Auto Sales, Alamosa Family Dentistry, SLV Sports and Wellness, Schulz Realty, Robert Gallegos Graphic Design and the Bankshot.