Tylerites Celebrate Cinco De Mayo At East Texas State Fairgrounds
By BETTY WATERS
As live music blared, Hispanics gathered at the East Texas Fairgrounds in Tyler for a celebration Saturday of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla when Mexican troops defeated the invading French in Mexico on May 5, 1862.
Fiesta-goers mingled and strolled about as they listened to traditional Mexican music performed on a stage, watched children and others ride a mechanical bull and visited booths while youngsters bounced in several bounce houses.
Cecelia Segura, who drove from Longview to attend, said, "I like how it shows off to the Tyler people the culture of Mexico and how we celebrate Cinco de Mayo ... I like the music. It portrays our culture and it shows other people where we come from and what we do to embrace our culture as time goes by."
It was a day and night of fun, food and frolic.
The crowd was sparse early in the afternoon but was expected to grow to several thousand as the celebration continued to around 10 p.m.
Carla Hernandez of Whitehouse said she was enjoying watching her daughter have fun. Her daughter, Marissa, said, "I like all of it," while her husband Eddie Hernandez said it was nice to have everyone together and seeing the family.
Food booths hawked lemonade, giant turkey legs, corn dogs, sausage wraps and sausage on a stick, ribbon fries, funnel cakes, cheeseburgers, stuffed hot peppers, nacho platters and other goodies.
Another booth titled "people educating communities about tobacco" promoted a tobacco free environment.
There was also face painting, clowns and bigger bands and crowds as the evening wore on.
"It's a wonderful celebration of the heritage of the Hispanic population; it's a great celebration," said Jimmy Olson of Jacksonville, vice president of operations for Waller Broadcasting, which sponsored the sixth annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in partnership with KLTV's Spanish station.
The media group has facilities in Tyler, Longview and Jacksonville.
"It is an absolutely free celebration and open to the public," Olson said, and it debuted the Mexican radio stations' new program lineup.
The Hispanic community is family oriented and bring their kids and grandparents to the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Olson observed.
"It's an amazing celebration of life; it's a lot of fun," he said.
The mayors of Tyler and a Mexican city along with delegates from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Tyler's newest Sister Cities partner, came to the festival, Olson said.