City, college plan Cinco de Mayo events

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

As the calendar turns over to May, people can look forward to Cinco De Mayo celebrations throughout the week in Portales.
Cinco De Mayo organizers are preparing their festivities for the people of Portales to enjoy from Tuesday to Saturday. Eastern New Mexico University faculty, staff and students are also putting together events in celebration of the holiday.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates a victory by the Mexican Army over the French Army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
The weekend will bring about a celebration from the city and from the department of Multicultural Affairs at ENMU. Veda Urioste of Portales Multicultural Affairs said there will be a lot of firsts for the Cinco De Mayo festival on Saturday.
Urioste said some of the events are new such as the game booths, pony rides, tractor rides and wall climbing.
“I’m excited,” Urioste said. “I hope there’s going to be a good turnout. There will be events for different age groups.”
Saturday will start with a 10 a.m. parade from Lindsey Park which winds down Ivy Street and when it hits N. Main St., the parade will make a left. Participants in the parade will then make a right on Lime Street and head to the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
The Roosevelt County Fairgrounds will be the site of all of Saturday’s events, with free admission for all events.
Ben Rodriguez, organizer of the horseshoe tournament, said he hopes for a good turnout for the horseshoe tournament. Rodriguez said the event will take place in an open area towards the center of the fairgrounds. He said the horseshoes and stakes are provided, but contestants can bring their own horseshoes.
“It’s a fun event and it’s for the whole community,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not just for those who want to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. There’s entertainment for the whole family.”
Rodriguez said there is a $5 entry fee for the tournament and those interested can sign up at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the fairgrounds. He said there will be prizes such as a trophy and T-shirts for the winners.
Urioste said Ray and Wendy Toombs, the owners of the Abrazos Adventure horseback riding school north of Portales, will have ponies for the children to ride on. There will also be free music for those who attend the Cinco De Mayo festivities at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. The Grupo Cadena music group from Friona, Texas, will perform from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the concrete slab.
Urioste said she heard Grupo Cadena at an event in Clovis last summer and was impressed so she booked them for the Cinco De Mayo festivities. The five member band started originally as a family band, according to manager John Ortiz.
“My sons have been playing since they were 12, 13 years old,” said Ortiz, who also used to play in the group before just working as the manager. “I finally said to myself, ‘Let’s start our own group. Why play for other (bands) when we can play for ourselves?’”
Three of the current members are Ortiz’ sons.
The Corazon Salvaje music group will be the opening act. Urioste said one of the most successful Cinco De Mayo festivals was when city representatives were able to book mariachis for the celebration.
There will also be activities on the ENMU campus. Nancy Varelas of the Hispanic Affairs office of ENMU said there will be an ENMU recognition banquet from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ballroom of the Campus Union Building. She said the purpose of the banquet is to recognize Hispanic students who will be graduating in May and teachers.
Varelas said there will be an open mike show on Thursday, sponsored by organizations such as the Spanish Club and Association to Help Our Race Advance (AHORA). The show will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the patio area on the north side of the Campus Union Building.