Cinco Swim

Denver’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is one of the biggest — if not the biggest — in the country, maybe the world (but then, the holiday is not that big a deal in Mexico). That’s the claim, at least, of NEWSED, the community-development nonprofit that runs the festival in Civic Center Park, now in its 24th year. And NEWSED’s got the numbers to back it up. “Colorado has the third-largest Latino population in the country,” notes festival event coordinator Andrea Barela. “We measure demographics, and we get a lot of people from outside Denver. We average about 350,000 to 400,000 people a year, and those crowd numbers we get from the Denver police and fire departments, so we know they’re legitimate numbers.”

And this year could well be the biggest ever. For one thing, it’s kicking off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, with a parade — something that’s been absent from the weekend-long festivities for the past few years but is now back, courtesy of increased volunteer efforts and new sponsorship. And then there are the three stages of music, the hundreds of vendors, the children’s carnival and other random attractions. (The Navy is a big sponsor this year, for example, and will be doing everything from parachuting into the park to offering a flight simulator for people to play with.)

Admission to the festival is free, as are many of the activities, and the ones that aren’t “are affordable,” Barela notes. For the full lineup, visit
Sat., May 7, 2011

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte