Portland’s 2017 Cinco De Mayo Festival will be held May 5-7 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the bank of the Willamette River. The schedule of events for this year’s fiesta is full of fun for visitors of all ages!
What’s the first thing most people think of about springtime in Portland, Oregon? Rain, of course. And we do get our share plus a little, but we often have some lovely spring weather. The past few years, we’ve had warm sunny weather at the beginning of May, and we’re hoping for more for this year’s fiesta!
The 5th of May is an important historical day in Mexico, as it commemorates the victory of Mexican forces over the French in the Franco-Mexican War. It’s not a super popular holiday in Mexico, but here in the US it’s become a holiday celebrating Mexican American culture and heritage. And we’re okay with any excuse for a fiesta!
Culture is the focus of Portland’s Cinco de Mayo fiesta, sponsored by the Portland-Guadalajara Sister City Association. Dancers from Mexico, both folklore and ballet, will be performing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Many bands will be featured over the weekend — from local bands like El Bajio to mariachi and dance bands from Mexico and Latin America. And the best part about all of this fabulous entertainment? It’s included in your admission price. In addition, artists from Guadalajara will showcase their work in the artisan village.
New at the festival this year is Lotería, a game similar to bingo. In place of numbers on ping pong balls are brightly-colored images on a deck of cards. Players use a board, called a tabla, with 4×4 rows of randomly generated images. A deck is made of a set of 54 different images on cards, drawn by the caller, or cantor, and read out to the players. Players with the matching image mark it off on their tabla, similar to a bingo card. The first player with four markers in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line shouts “¡Lotería!” or “¡Buenas!” There’s no extra charge to play the game, which will take place in the Merchant area from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day — complete with prizes!
Runners might want to participate in the Cinco de Mayo Run/Walk. This annual event, held across the river from the Fiesta on May 7, offers a half-miler for kids as well as 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances.
A naturalization ceremony for new US citizens will be held on May 5th at 1 p.m. in the main fiesta tent. New citizens from many countries will participate in the ceremony, which will be followed by a reception.
Of course it wouldn’t be a proper festival without lots of tasty Mexican food and a beer & margarita garden! We enjoyed several different tasty treats there. All in the name of research, of course!
2017 Event Hours
Friday May 5th – 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday May 6th – 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday May 7th – 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Adults – 13 years & older – $10.00
Children – 6 years to 12 years – $6.00
Seniors – 62 years and older – $6.00
Children 6 years and under – FREE*
(*compliments of Portland Development Commission)
For those of you that enjoy the rides, check out this deal on a wristband that gives you unlimited rides and more!
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Let us know how in the comments. Y disfruten de su semana o su fin de semana!
P.S. Thursday is May 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars Day. One year we were at the festival on the 4th, and we saw Portland’s very own Unipiper riding his unicycle on the waterfront (in a kilt, no less) and playing the Star Wars theme on the bagpipes. Keep Portland weird, baby. And may the fourth be with you!