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Community celebrates Cinco de Mayo
May 04, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Gering Citizen file photo
The Los Guadalupanos Dancers perform in the Legion Park’s band shell at the Gering Arts Festival in 2009.

SCOTTSBLUFF — This weekend, the local Mexican community will honor its heritage during the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Although Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Sept. 16 Independence Day, it does commemorate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Celebrated since then in both Mexico and America, both nations set aside the day to honor the Latino contribution to our culture.

Local festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 4 with the Los Guadalupanos Cinco de Mayo King and Queen Royalty Pageant. The event takes place at the Guadalupe Center, 1200 East 9th St. in Scottsbluff.

“We have about 21 contestants entered for the pageant,” said event organizer Mary Ann Shockley. “All the information is turned in earlier in the week and we know the winners, so parents have about a week to get things together with the dresses and such.”

Royalty will be crowned in four divisions: Tiny Tot (2-4 years old), Intermediate (5-9 years), Junior (10-14 years) and Senior (15-19).

Cinco de Mayo activities continue on Saturday, May 5 at 10 a.m. with a parade down East Overland. Starting the parade will be members of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church’s Knights of Columbus group. Dignitaries for the parade include Mayors Ed Mayo of Gering and Randy Meininger of Scottsbluff.

Shockley will serve at the parade’s grand marshal, which she said was a nice surprise. “I guess because of my community involvement and directing cultural dancers for 11 years, the committee thought I’d be the right person.”

Floats from a number of businesses and community groups will be included, along with 25 horsemen. Other entries are car and motorcycle groups and a neighborhood group of Chihuahua dogs in costume.

After the parade, at about 11 a.m., activities continue at the Guadalupe Center with folk dancing, entertainment, singing and a variety of food vendors. Shockley’s dance group, the Los Guadalupanos Dancers, will also perform.

Shockley said she’s received all kinds of positive feedback about the event, from the variety of entertainment to the specialty ethnic foods that just aren’t available in stores.

“This is a family oriented event,” she said. “It’s a time for community pride and coming together to celebrate our heritage with food, dancing and singing.”
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