Residents celebrate Cinco de Mayo |

Residents celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Craig’s first Cinco de Mayo celebration accomplished its intended goal of bringing people together.

The damp weather even played a factor, driving about 250 people under the roof of the picnic shelter at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Fiesta-goers were forced into close proximity with each other, but there were few opportunities for interaction or introductions. The lively music that played all afternoon made it difficult to initiate conversations.

Still, people seemed enthusiastic about the event. Several non-Hispanics said they were pleased to get the opportunity to see another culture on display. “I came for the great music and the great food,” said Ann Irvin. “It’s awesome.”

Tim Paschke, a retired teacher in the Moffat County School District, said he went to the fiesta after hearing the mariachi band perform at Casa Loya the night before.

“I really like the music,” he said.

F. Neil Folks, who is heading up the Friendship Outreach for the Communities Overcoming Meth Abuse citizens task force, saw the celebration as an opportunity to gain some insight on the local Mexican culture.

Since drug addiction cuts across cultural lines, Folks hopes he can learn more about everyone’s “cultural approach” to life and spirituality.

For Maria de Lourdes Stewart, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, the celebration was a reminder of home.

There, schools close for the day and parades and celebrations mark the anniversary of Mexico’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla, she said.

Steamboat Springs resident Lupita Hathaway, who hails from Puebla, spoke about the history of the celebration. She also wore a skirt made by her mother, emblazoned with elements of the Mexican flag.

Children danced traditional Mexican folk dances and Mariachi Jaliciense entertained the crowd for hours. There were piñatas for the kids and food booths.

“I’m really pleased with how it turned out,” said Summer Laws of Comunidad Integrada, which organized the event.

Her hope is that it gave Yampa Valley residents a better understanding of why Mexicans who move here want to retain parts of their culture.

“Hopefully there will be a better understanding of what a difficult process it is to become part of the community and not lose yourself,” she said.

“This is an introduction to what we’re trying to do in the community.”

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