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MONTEREY LIFE

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Fri, May 04, 2012 at 12:00AM

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, is the day most Mexican people commemorate the 1861 Battle of the Puebla victory, where their underdog forces defeated a much larger French battalion. Today, the date is set to celebrate Mexican culture, pride and heritage, throughout the United States and beyond.

The holiday has grown in popularity so much that there are now hundreds of events marking the occasion. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the country’s 32 million-plus residents of Mexican origin now represent the largest Hispanic group in 40 of its 50 states.

Here are some fun ideas to help everyone celebrate the 150th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo and the rich culture responsible for it.

Gather your friends and prepare a Mexican fiesta to enjoy at home, on a beach or in a park, or hold a dinner party on your Monterey, featuring Mexican appetizers, main dishes, desserts and drinks. No matter where you’re docked, don’t forget to include traditional Mexican music, decorations, and attire.

If you’d rather venture out, many cities hold exciting and indulgent Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Check your local media events calendar. For instance, in Richmond, Virginia, the Canal Walk is transformed to resemble the famous Floating Gardens of Xochimilco for its ¿Qué Pasa? Cinco de Mayo Festival. Boats offer free rides, with live Latin music, performances along the Canal Walk, and scrumptious food, beverages, arts and crafts.

In Miami, Florida, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of great expanse. Block parties are common, such as Coconut Grove’s Fete du Cinco de Mayo, where restaurants take to the streets to join a parade complete with mariachis.  Downtown's Mary Brickell Village and South Beach’s Espanola Way also hold street festivals, and Tobacco Road, the oldest bar in Miami, hosts the Cinco de Drinko Hot Peppa' Palooza, with some of Miami's best food trucks, a stage full of DJs, and live music, all al fresco.

On the west coast, Olvera Street in the Downtown Los Angeles area is home to one of the largest Cinco de Mayo fairs in the world, where carnival rides and dancing liven up the legendary area around El Pueblo Historic Monument, the famed Mexican Marketplace created in 1933.

San Antonio, Texas also celebrates this holiday with passion at its historic Market Square, with live music and superb Tex-Mex food, plus a Luminaria celebration this year.

One of the best places to go for Cinco de Mayo fun ‘south of the border’ is Cancun, Mexico, where Señor Frog's is a big hit, with a live reggae band and a water slide!

To help you enjoy your chips, tacos, enchiladas and any cooked fish, here is a recipe for Green Sauce, or Salsa Verde. Give it a try for a change from, or addition to, regular tomato salsa.

You can also check out this link for recipes for healthier – but still delicious – Cinco de Mayo cocktails: http://ow.ly/aHGG0 and for a non-alcoholic treat, the refreshing Mexican drink, limonada (lemonade) is sure to hit the spot.


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