Cinco de Mayo celebration returns to Moffat County Fairgrounds

Authentic food, traditional dancing and the mixing of cultures are trademarks of Craig's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.

The free event is slated for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, and the attractions promise to live up to the event's history, one organizer said.

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"Our basic premise is a chance for people to have an intercultural exchange in Craig," said Summer Laws, director of Comunidad Integrada, which sponsors the event. "Another goal is building respect for other cultures through the arts and food and music and fun."

Comunidad Integrada is a local public service organization pledged to supporting and promoting the successful integration of immigrants and the residents of Moffat and Routt counties.

Saturday marks the third year for the Cinco de Mayo celebration, which includes a variety of traditional Mexican, and possibly Columbian, dishes. Local nonprofit organizations will have baked goods for sale as well.

A local band, which does not have a name, will kick off the event's entertainment at noon, followed by a local talent show featuring singing, guitar performances, poetry reading and salsa dancing.

"I think just the idea of having the local talent and having community participation ... is a neat idea," Laws said. "It's just a great way to get a lot of different people involved."

Other attractions include a 2 p.m. performance by Mariachi Juvenil Real de Mexico from Denver and face painting, caramel apples and games for children.

Laws also hopes to host a forum regarding immigrant issues, if the weather does not interfere.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Today, the holiday is celebrated more widely in the United States than in Mexico, but Laws in unsure why.

"Nobody really knows why it's become so popular in the United States," she said.

But each year, hundreds of residents -- of both the Hispanic and Anglo communities -- attend the local celebration to remember the battle.

For more information about Saturday's Cinco de Mayo event, call Comunidad Integrada at 846-5521.

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