By Alaina Brandenburger

The Cinco de Mayo parade in 2013 in Denver (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Many people mistakenly assume that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated as Mexico’s Independence Day but this is not the case. The day commemorates the country’s victory over the French Empire during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This minor Mexican holiday has evolved within the United States and has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture. With a significant population residents of Mexican descent, Denver’s Cinco de Mayo’s celebrations are some of the biggest and boldest in the country. Join the festivities at one of these events and restaurants in Denver.

Celebrate Culture
Civic Center Park
101 W. 14th Ave.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-8342
www.cincodemayodenver.com

Date: Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Denver’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is the Celebrate Culture Festival, held annually in Civic Center Park. Now in its 31st year, the celebration includes food, live music, dancers, rides, pop up shops and much more. The event kicks off with a parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, then visitors can stick around for chihuahua races, a car show, music at one of three stages and Mexican cuisine among other attractions. Admission to the event is free, but be sure to bring cash for food, drink tickets and shopping.

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There are many parking lots surrounding the park which charge fees for parking, so be prepared, or take RTD.

Longmont Celebrates Cinco de Mayo
Roosevelt Park
700 Longs Peak Ave.
Longmont, CO 80501
(303) 774-3756
www.longmontcincodemayo.com

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018

To the north, Longmont hosts Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Roosevelt Park. This event is a celebration of culture with traditional Mexican dancers, presentations featuring indigenous culture, a chihuahua beauty contest, music, food and more. Celebrating its 16th anniversary, Longmont Celebrates Cinco de Mayo is fun for the whole family. Along with music, shopping and a car show, there is face painting, a bounce house and other activities for kids. Admission to the event is free but bring some money for food and trinkets.

Jammin’ de Mayo
Magness Arena
2250 Jewell Ave.
Denver, CO 80210
www.jammin1015.com/jammin-de-mayo

Date: Friday, May 4, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

If festivals aren’t for you, check out Jammin 101.5’s Jammin de Mayo concert at Magness Arena. This year’s lineup features Zapp, Lisa Lisa, Baby Bash, A Lighter Shade of Brown, Amanda Perez, Tierra and more. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with throwback jams while dancing the night away. This concert is packed full of nostalgic acts and there is guaranteed to be plenty of dancing. Tickets range from $35 to $60. Street parking is available around the arena, or there is a garage close by but be early and prepare for traffic.

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RFMA’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Lola Coastal Mexican
1575 Boulder St.
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 412-7610
www.magonacademy.org

Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 5 p.m.

This celebration is a fundraiser for Denver’s Ricardo Flores Magon Academy. The event centers around students from the school who perform while audience members enjoy food and drinks. The school, whose student body includes kids of all ethnic backgrounds, has a large population of students of Mexican descent and this opportunity provides the chance to delve more into culture. Tickets are $45, the majority of proceeds benefit the school.

Blue Agave Grill
1201 16th St., Suite 104
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 550-8389
www.blueagavegrillcolorado.com

Start your Cinco de Mayo celebration at Blue Agave Grill in LoDo. With more than 100 tequilas on the menu, this bar is perfect for a night out. Its menu features coastal Mexican fare with an abundance of seafood dishes and more common dishes. For adventurous diners, there are a number of fusion dishes on the menu including coconut shrimp tacos. Book your reservation now so you can skip the wait and kick off your celebration with a delicious dish and a tequila flight.

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