Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "The Fifth of May") is a celebration that commemorates a historic 1862 battle in Puebla, when 4,000 Mexican soldiers triumphed over twice as many French fighters in an unlikely victory. A number of U.S. cities with sizable Mexican-American populations hold multi-day festivals and events as a celebration of ethnic pride. Here are some of the biggest, most vibrant Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the U.S.
Denver's two-day "Celebrate Culture" event, held each year around Cinco de Mayo, is known to draw as many as 400,000 attendees. The family-friendly festival celebrates the city's Latino population with a wide range of live music, food, and activities.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles boasts the largest Cinco de Mayo street fair in the world: Fiesta Broadway. The multi-day, mile-long fair is located in downtown LA at the end of April and features music, games, and vendor booths. Later on, the celebration continues in LA's oldest district at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, which is adorned with Mexican flags. Visitors and residents dance, eat traditional Mexican food, and listen to Mexican folk tales.
Portland's four-day Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is the largest multicultural event in the state of Oregon. Held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Oregon, it attracts over 300,000 visitors and features live dancing and musical entertainment, Mexican food, artisans from Mexico, and more.
San Francisco, California
Each year, the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco throws a family-friendly Cinco de Mayo celebration, which showcases Mexican and Latin American cultures with a variety of foods, music, and dance.
Chicago goes all out to celebrate holidays, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. The city hosts a family-friendly parade in Little Village, and adult revelers of drinking age can hop on the annual Chicago Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl.
Phoenix is steeped in Mexican culture, and the area is home to a huge annual celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Patriots Square Park hosts the downtown festivities and sports hundreds of booths, and you can catch a Chihuahua race in nearby Chandler or take in three days of live entertainment in Mesa.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is home to a thriving Latino community, and the city hosts a number of neighborhood fiestas throughout the year. The original Azteca Cinco de Mayo celebration is held at Kaw Point Park, and there's also an annual Cinco de Mayo fiesta in the Westside neighborhood.
St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul may be a long way away from Mexico, but the city boasts a lively Cinco de Mayo celebration. An annual two-day celebration in the District del Sol on the West Side draws huge crowds of over 100,000 people.
San Antonio, Texas
The city's Fiesta San Antonio, which takes place at the end of April, isn't technically a Cinco de Mayo celebration, but it's often mistaken for one. However, visitors turn out in huge numbers for the official Cinco de Mayo festivities at Market Square.
Over 100,000 celebrants attend Reno's Cinco de Mayo festivities, which include a two-day festival in the neighboring town of Sparks and a free party put on by the Nevada Hispanic Services.