Cinco de Mayo events planned in Walla Walla, Milton Freewater

People all over the continent will come together to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the weekend before May 5. Walla Wallans will be attending events in Walla Walla, Milton-Freewater, Pasco and surrounding areas.

Walla Walla High School’s Club Latino will be hosting a celebration for high school students on Friday, May 2 and Whitman’s Club Latino will be hosting an event for students and the community.

However, many Walla Wallans will be leaving the city for their Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Milton-Freewater hosts an annual event that draws many people from Milton-Freewater and a few from Walla Walla.

“Most people come from Milton-Freewater, even walking distance from the park, but every year we get a few people from Walla Walla, especially because Walla Walla doesn’t usually have a big celebration itself,” said Jon McFarland, who has been involved in organizing Milton-Freewater’s Cinco de Mayo celebration for several years, but hasn’t been involved this year.

On Friday, May 2, the mayor of Milton-Freewater will give a short speech and there will be a parade from 9 to 11 a.m. There will be a big soccer event, and Jose Garcia, who has played with Oregon in the state championships, is scheduled to attend. There will be a stage where people will dance and children will get to dress up.

But the really big event will take place in Pasco. Drawing a huge crowd of people from all over, Pasco holds a Cinco de Mayo celebration every year.

“It’s just a common event. We don’t really make any profit. It’s free to the public. It’s a great time for every to get together and share culture,” said Vanessa Thamart, who works for Pasco’s Chamber of Commerce.

Pasco has a 51 percent Latino population and the event is very popular. There will be a parade, a horse show, a pageant and other events.

Whitman’s Club Latino is planning to attend the event as a club.

“It’ll be a big deal. There’ll be a lot of tradition and culture,” said sophomore Estela Vasquez. “It’s really something people should do.”

Cinco de Mayo, literally the “Fifth of May,” celebrates Mexico’s victory in beating back French troops shortly after the Mexican-American War.

“It’s a celebration of the past. It’s really a great event,” said McFarland.

Whitman’s Club Latino will be hosting a huge celebration on Sunday, May 4 and they are hoping for a large turnout from Walla Walla High students, as well as other community members.

There will be dancing and singing and they are bringing a band for the second half of the evening. There will be two taco trucks and Club Latino will raffle away prizes.