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Washington, DC hosts the National Cinco de Mayo Festival each year with a performance by the Maru Montero Dance Co. This celebration extends beyond Mexican culture and embraces the heritage of all of Latin America. In previous years, performers have come all the way from Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Argentina and Nicaragua to perform in front of the Washington Monument.

The United States Capitol is an exciting place to visit throughout the year, but if you are planning a trip this spring, the Cinco de Mayo Festival 2015 in Washington, DC may be something to add to your Dc sightseeing tour. This annual celebration of Mexican and Latino culture has become one of the events that families of all nationalities plan to attend each year. Expanding to include more than just the basic Cinco de Mayo party, the festival is a “Latin family reunion” of sorts.

If you are going to take part in the Cinco de Mayo Festival, it is a good idea to have a little background of what you are celebrating. This holiday is perhaps one of the most misunderstood in Mexican culture. Contrary to popular belief, May 5th is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Instead, it commemorates the Battle of Puebla, when struggling Mexicans defeated the French Army outside of Mexico City. Today, most Cinco de Mayo celebrations honor the Mexican way of life more so than a battle that happened in 1862, and the Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington, DC is no exception.

There is a rich history and culture that many Latin countries share, and you can experience that at the Cinco de Mayo Festival. There are plenty of things to do for people of all ages, and you can certainly find something delicious to eat as you do any of the following: (a) Watch dancers light up the stage; (b) Listen to live Mariachi bands; (c) Participate in arts and crafts; and (d) Join in on games and activities

Over the years, the event has grown to include Latin American participants from all over the country who want to share their ethnic diversity.

This year’s Cinco de Mayo Festival was held on the National Mall between 9th and 12th Streets on Sunday, May 3rd. The event runs from noon until 6 p.m., rain or shine. The Latin dance group, Maru Montero Dance Company, is the host of the festival and is sure to provide entertainment through traditional song and movement.

As you begin to plan your DC sightseeing tour, don’t forget to schedule in a little time to stop by the Cinco de Mayo Festival 2015 in Washington, DC. Washington DC is one of the best destinations to see and appreciate the many different cultures that make up the American population, and if you are in town on May 3rd, you can get a glimpse into the thriving Latin community and all it has to offer.

One of the many Cinco de Mayo festivities in the Commonwealth of Virginia with ¿Qué Pasa? on Richmond’s historic Canal Walk, with splashes of Latin energy, music, and flavors.

On Saturday, May 2nd, Richmond’s Canal Walk will undergo a community-based transformation to resemble the famous Floating Gardens of Xochimilco for ¿Qué Pasa?, beginning at 11:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. The canal boats will offer free boat rides throughout the festival. Bursts of live Latin music and performances along the Canal Walk will energize the thousands expected to come to enjoy scrumptious Latin-flavored food, beverages and dazzling arts and crafts during their 13th Year of Qué Pasa? celebration.

A dynamic mixture of sights, sounds and tastes, is the ¿Qué Pasa? Festival invites each participant to fully engage in this unique opportunity for direct access into Virginia’s Hispanic demographic. Last year, over 9,000 residents and tourists enjoyed this wonderful event – celebrating a culture that honors family, invites participation and loves food.

Alexandria will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo on May 1st. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy an evening that will give you a “Taste of Cinco de Mayo” with food, music and dance. Mexican culinary delights start your evening sponsored by local restaurants. Some of the food sponsors include South Austin Grill, Los Toltecos and Dos Amigos. The Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble, Northern Virginia’s premier Mexican folkloric performing company will provide a spectacular 30 minute performance beginning at 6:30 pm.

At 7:30 pm, Ocho de Bastos, a Latin jazz band will culminate the evening’s festivities and get you on your feet with the Latin beat.

For Cinco de Mayo, the usual discussion is margaritas, sombreros and spicy salsa. But if you are looking beyond just the food and want to find a unique event, check out the local spots below who are starting a different type of party.

To celebrate the holiday as well as the start of the skydiving season, Skydive Orange is holding a skydiving event on May 3-4 for tandem skydiving. After, there will be dinner, a pinata, and a theme party with plenty of entertainment. Registration is $45 which includes registration, a t-shirt and all-night fun. Just make sure you hold on the tequila until after your jump.

Looking for an event that’s okay to bring the kids to? Award-winning bilingual artist Andres will celebrate Cinco de Mayo and his album release at the Alexandria Old Town Theater in a show that features authentic folk dancers from a Mexican dance ensemble as well as Andres’ tunes for kids. With the goal to teach children about Spanish language and cultures, Andres is hoping to make this a fun learning experience with songs like “If I Had a Mariachi.”

If you want to give back for Cinco de Mayo, multiple animal organizations in the area are hosting the Pet Fiesta on May 3. The event; sponsored by Unleashed, and other organizations; will be held to benefit homeless dogs and promote animal adoption. There will be a charity dog walk, live music, kid activities and many dogs who are ready to be taken to a new home. Be prepared to see dog tricks, a doggy fashion show and live comedy

Another event for dog lovers. Bring your pups to this free social event with live music, a photo booth, and free treats for the dogs at some local retailers. Drink purchases will benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue and there will be information available about local groomers, boarding and adoption. Enjoy the event rain or shine on May 3rd from 3-5 p.m. Learn more about the Arlington event here.

 Kathy Kiefer



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