Monday, May 7, 2018

Venice Celebrates Cinco de Mayo - Olé!

What a gorgeous day for Cinco de Mayo we had this year! The sun was out, the breezes were warm, and people were in the mood to fiesta!

 I didn't get to catch the actual parade that went down Lincoln Boulevard, but I heard (and saw below) that it was fantastic. The car clubs came out with their lowriders and hot rods, there were beautiful, brightly costumed Folklorico and Azteca dancers twirling their skirts, and the Mariachi played all over town - from Oakwood Park to the rooftop of La Cabaña!

Oakwood Park was the epicenter of the fun this year, and it was packed with revelers of all cultures and backgrounds celebrating the Mexican and Chicano history that is so crucial to Venice, and especially this neighborhood (It's also right across the street from the Baptist Church that we sure would like to save as part of the town's equally important history).

There were food booths, arts and crafts you could purchase, performances from the dancers and musicians, and several speakers who educated everyone on the local and national histories behind this holiday (really commemorating the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 over the French, not Mexican Independence Day, as many believe, and also why Mexicans have bolillos ... they learned the baking from the French).

Friends and neighbors pulled up lawn chairs and blankets, settling in to enjoy and to learn. It was a bright, colorful, beautiful, festive day in Venice, for sure. I couldn't stay as long as I'd have liked at the park, as it was also the birthday of my little friend, Mia, and her mother's 19th Anniversary of owning Burro on Abbot Kinney AND my friend Lacey's birthday too! Partying was in order. And was done.

One of the speakers at the wonderful Cinco de Mayo celebration in the park (planned and organized by Darlene Rodriguez and Laura Ceballos) explained how important the Mexican and Chicano history is in Venice, and that the working class of all colors is what made Venice what it is today. They are raising funds for a monument to go in Windward Circle (where nearby the Venice sign is now lit with the red, green, and white of the Mexican flag) so that all may know of the contributions made to our town by our Latino friends and neighbors. "We don't care about the color of your skin in Venice, we care about your heart." Exactly. And on days like this in Venice, you can feel pretty good about the hearts that call it home.

Viva Mexico! Viva Venice!

*Video courtesy of Brad Hennegen

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