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Chester County Press

Cinco de Mayo celebration brings cheer on a rainy afternoon

05/08/2024 06:50PM ● By Chris Barber
Cinco de Mayo celebration brings cheer on a rainy afternoon [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

The Cinco de Mayo celebration in Kennett Square brought plenty of cheer for participants and attendees, despite the wet weather on a rainy afternoon on Saturday.

Cinco de Mayo is the holiday that marks the Mexican victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in Mexico in 1862, and it is celebrated nationwide in the United State among members of the Spanish-speaking population, often on the weekend closest to the May 5 date.

In past years, the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Kennett Square filled the streets of the borough throughout the day. Last year, however, the event was cancelled because of heavy rain. For 2023, the organizers had planned to hold the celebration at the borough property on south Broad Street, where the reduced Mushroom Festival had settled temporarily following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year the Cinco de Mayo event returned to State Street on Saturday and had the length of the roadway from Mill to Walnut streets reserved for the occasion.

The attendance was down from Cinco de Mayo celebrations in years past that had the benefit of good weather, but the organizers this year advertised and persisted in carrying it through “rain or shine.”

Kathleen Snyder, who was staffing a station along the way, observed, “We’ll be dancing in the rain.”

Indeed, there was not only dancing, but singing, instrumental music, food, recognition of local celebrities and vendors selling everything from jewelry to hats.

Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick, who was honored early on, told his audience that he was happy to have Cinco de Mayo return to the main street of town, and he wanted to offer help of the borough to its Spanish population.

He also jokingly apologized for the unpleasant weather the borough brought them for their important day.

Cinco de Mayo in Kennett Square is organized by Casa Guanajuato, a group whose mission is to bring the culture and arts of Mexico to the borough in general, and to the Spanish population in particular.

According to online demographic reports, Kennett Square has a Hispanic population of 35 percent. Many of those people have come from Mexico to work in the mushroom industry as harvesters. In time, many of them have risen to supervisor positions in the businesses.

Cinco de Mayo in Kennett Square is a colorful event, with many of the performers, and even many vendors, dressed in native Mexican festive garb.

One group that was especially bright was Tonantin Yaotecas, which included adults and children dancing to the beat of large drums. Their performance was followed by music by a mariachi band.

The providers of native food at the festival were particularly popular as their staffs cooked tacos as well as corn on the cob and desserts.

Present also, under a tent, but enthusiastic through the rain, were representatives of Iglesia Metodista Unida Cristo Rey, a Spanish-speaking unit of the United Methodist Church.

Its mission is “building new generations to transform, restore and reconcile the community of West Grove and its surroundings.” The church building is located on the 300 block of West Grove. Its pastor, Evodia Villalva and her supporters were happily distributing plastic food storage containers with information about the church inside.

Present as well at a table along the way were representatives of ACOLA, an acronym for The Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. Its mission is to work with the Spanish-speaking population in the borough.

The members had a recent discussion about helping Hispanic residents who were facing trouble with their water bills. The bills were increasing but the recipients did not understand that it could be caused by leaks. The borough has the power to influence apartment owners to make sure their utilities, including plumbing, are in order.

The Spanish-speaking population in southern Chester County is also served by La Comunidad Hispana. It provides healthcare and social services to the community.