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32nd annual Cinco de Mayo Festival returns to Denver in 2022

Denver's annual Cinco de Mayo Festival is back at Civic Center Park.

DENVER — The 2022 Cinco de Mayo "Celebrate Culture" Festival will take place in Civic Center Park on May 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Guests can enjoy live music and dancing by local performers, food vendors, and an art fair featuring more than 300 exhibitors. The free festival’s organizers also say to expect carnival rides, chihuahua races, a taco eating contest and a lowrider car show.

The 2022 festival will mark the return of the city’s Cinco de Mayo Parade, which will happen Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to noon. The 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cinco de Mayo, celebrated by Latinos and non-Latinos across the country, commemorates the victory of heroic people and their struggle for freedom. 

On May 5, 1862, in the town of Puebla, the outnumbered Mexican army defeated French forces providing the momentum and national confidence to drive foreign power from their country. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of freedom and culture. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the tradition of freedom and acknowledges the beauty of Latino culture. 

An outnumbered Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 Mexican soldiers fortified the town and prepared for the assault by the well-equipped French force. 

On the fifth of May, or Cinco de Mayo, the French gathered their army against the Mexican army and began an attack. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening. The French troops realized the French forces were losing far more troops than the Mexicans, so they completely withdrew as a defeated army.

Though not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla galvanized Mexican resistance, and six years later, France withdrew. Later that same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by a firing squad. 

Puebla de Los Ángeles, the site of Zaragoza 's historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general. Today, Mexicans (and Mexican Americans) celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla as Cinco de Mayo, a holiday in the state of Puebla.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the tradition of freedom and acknowledges the beauty of Latino culture.

Credit: AP
Local residents dressed as Zacapoaxtla Indians, right, and French soldiers, left, clash during a reenactment of the battle of Puebla, during Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the Penon de los Banos neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of an ill-equipped Mexican army over French troops in Puebla on May 5, 1862. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

See more about the History of Cinco de Mayo  an annual holiday commemorating the day Mexican forces drove French soldiers from the town of Puebla in 1862.

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The 2022 Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” Festival will take place in Civic Center Park on May 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is free to attend.

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