Cinco de Mayo hits the Springs

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Next week, thousands of Colorado Springs residents will celebrate Mexico’s defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, including El Cinco de Mayo Inc., which is sponsoring its 21st annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration, starting with a fiesta Sunday in Memorial Park.

“The group was started to celebrate the positive influence that Hispanics have in our culture and to help raise scholarship money,” said Mark Zamora, the group’s treasurer. “The fiesta is a day of entertainment, vendors and a car show.”

The Hispanic population in El Paso County has grown from 34,473 in 1990 to 58,401 in 2000 according to US Census Bureau data.

El Cinco de Mayo Inc. also will provide assistance for a luncheon May 5 at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The group’s recognition banquet and dance will be held May 8. The dance will feature music by Daniel Cordova y Esperanza, a band from Taos, New Mexico.

El Cinco de Mayo Inc. has provided more than $100,000 in scholarships to more than 100 Hispanic students during the last two decades, Zamora said. In addition to corporate sponsorship, scholarship funds are generated by proceeds from fiesta vendors, entry fees from the fiesta’s car show and advertising revenue from the commemorative journal.

Vendors for Sunday’s fiesta include La Casita, House of Yakitori and Pikes Peak Harley. Catholic Health Initiatives, TCF Bank and Centro de la Familia will have informational booths at the fiesta.

Reservations for the banquet and dance must be made by May 4. Call Chris Martinez at 520-2416.