Mexican heritage comes alive May 7 with Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Sedona

By Joanna Nellans

The Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village kicks off its festival season with a spicy Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 7, the Saturday closest to the 5.

A north-of-the-border setting couldn’t be any more perfect for the celebration than Tlaquepaque, creatively modeled after the Spanish Colonial artisan villages of Old Mexico. Colorful costumes, piñatas, and hand-cut paper banners vibe with the flowering vines covering the arts village.

“We put a lot of energy into decorating the entire property,” said Wendy Lippman, General Manager and resident partner.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. About 2,000 Mexican soldiers beat the odds and defeated the invading French force that was three times larger. Here in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture, heritage, and perseverance.

The free 15th annual Tlaquepaque Cinco de Mayo Celebration features something for everyone of every age–Latin music, Mexican food, flamenco dancers, crafts for the kids, and plenty of piñatas to break open as everyone scrambles for the candy. “The kids totally love it,” Wendy said.

Authentic music includes Ballet Folklorico de Colores, traditional Mexican folk dancers performing three one-hour shows at Tlaquepaque North just across Highway 179 from the older Tlaquepaque South; Mosaico Flamenco featuring the flamenco and Latin rhythms of Frankel Gaetano and his dancers; Mariachi La Familia Rojas strolling the plazas with their mariachi music; and Ritmo Latino playing a mix of salsa, cumbia, Latin jazz and cha-cha-chá that makes listeners want to get up and dance.

Kids get to swing at the pinatas during three sessions at the Patio De Las Campanas. “We try to make sure everyone gets a shot at it,” Wendy said.

Kids also are sure to enjoy the free arts and crafts area where they can paint maracas and then get their faces painted.

Along with plenty of restaurants, Cinco de Mayo at Tlaquepaque features outdoor stands offering street tacos, churros, salsas and burritos.

Wendy advises visitors to give themselves plenty of time to park and find events. Arrive an hour early for the best seating at performances.

“It’s a really nice kickoff for the festival season in Sedona,” Wendy said.

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