Cinco de Mayo spirit on full display during weekend celebrations

It was a beautiful Saturday morning on Main Street, where families began to gather to witness this year’s Cinco de Mayo parade. As the dense crowd spread down Main Street and curved onto Olive Avenue, little ones began to get restless, anxious to lay eyes on this year’s parade entries. 

The sound of sirens broke the many conversations that were taking place, and soon the Porterville Police Department could be seen slowly rolling down the street, signalling the official start to the parade.  

Following the lights and sirens, was the Porterville City Council. Mayor Martha Flores waved happily out of the window of her car. 

Attention was soon directed to a mass of swirling flags and harmonized sounds as the Monache High School marching band and color guard made their way down the street. The high school band was closely followed by Sequoia Middle School’s marching band and color guard. The junior high school students marched to the beat of the song in sync, showing off their impressive uniformed footwork. 

A large green diesel truck with Young’s emblazoned on its doors slowly paced down the street. Cheers came from the crowd as they rolled by, revealing a live mariachi band on the trailer. A few members of the band had taken to the street to walk instead of ride, and their instruments gleamed in the sun, reflecting the hot rays of light. 

Old Illusions Car Club bounced and rolled on down Main Street. Inside some of the cars sat babies and children, who waved excitedly at the crowd lining the street. 

Encore Dance soon made their appearance in the parade, and the uniforms that the children were wearing glistened as some of the sequins caught the sun just right.

Extreme Studios Zumba Fitness rounded the corner of Main Street and Olive Avenue and the large crowd of women who had danced their way down the parade route celebrated the completion of the parade by gathering together for a quick picture. 

In a very impressive display to bring the parade to a close, Monache High School, Porterville High School, and Granite Hills High School’s Ballet Folklorico Oro de Mexico groups joined together to fill the street with students dressed in traditional Spanish dress. The group of over 150 students walked the streets, and brought smiles to many of the families watching. Children looked up in awe of all the bright colors and clapped enthusiastically as the group passed. 

As they rounded the corner of Main Street they came to a halt. They were released by their instructor, and soon a chaos of fabric swarmed through the street as each student tried to locate their family. 

The street was soon cleared, and people began walking to their cars, ready to pick up the spirit of the parade at the Cinco de Mayo fiesta at Veterans Park on Sunday.

As the day began to warm up around noon on Sunday, May 5, people started gathering at Veterans Park to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

A large stage was built at the center of the park, and a drummer was on stage testing his symbols and bass drum. A man came over the microphone and announced that plenty of food was ready to be eaten at the nearest vendor booths. 

To the left of the stage was a semicircle of food vendors whose booths emitted the delicious scent of spices and cooking meats. One booth sold corn and lemonade while the neighboring booth offered snow cones of various fruity flavors. Rounding off the food was a small taco truck that provided burritos, tacos, tortas, and more to hungry guests. 

A variety of booths lingered across from the stage under the shade of some large trees. Omni Health and Family Healthcare Network were among a handful of informational booths passing out flyers and information about the programs they offer. A few booths, such as Rising Stars Basketball, were selling raffle tickets for different prizes. The remaining booths sold items such as traditional Spanish dresses and sandals. 

On the west side of the park were multiple blow up attractions, including two bounce houses and an inflatable obstacle course. 

A large highlight of the fiesta was the soccer tournament located on the east side of the park. Four pop-up goals were set out, forming two soccer fields. The tournament drew a large crowd of spectators, who cheered and chatted while the Porterville Community Soccer League teams ran up and down the fields. 

Cowboy hats and boots were in abundance, and Veterans Park was swarming with excited friends and families who had come to celebrate and enjoy their Cinco de Mayo together.

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