• Special to the Daily Leader
“This is a fun family event that the whole community can enjoy,” said Dean Aragon, the chair of Liberal’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration committee, which is sponsored by the Liberal Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have always viewed it as being more than a Hispanic event. It’s a great way to bring everyone together and just have fun. So please plan to join us on Sunday.”
The event will kick off with a downtown Liberal parade at 1:30 p.m. and a full schedule of activities and booths at the activity center from 2:30 to 6 p.m. “We’ve got great entertainment and we also have some special activities and games to keep the kids involved,” Aragon said.
Seven young women are vying for Cinco de Mayo Queen, including Erika Pacheco, Veronica Baray, Brianna Lucero, Gaby Marquez, Eliza Pacheco, Ariana Paral and Yasel Manriquez. The queen candidates are selling raffle tickets that include a big-screen television, Wii system and gift certificates.
The Cinco De Mayo Parade will start at 1:30 p.m. Sunday from Light Park and proceed down Kansas Avenue to the Depot. Line up will be at 12:30 p.m. Parade entries are free and businesses, schools, churches, unique vehicles, non-profits and civic organizations are invited to enter their floats or vehicles. Julio Jimenez is the parade chair and may be contacted at 391-3232. Parade entry forms are also available at the Chamber office.
“National Beef will be giving away 200 one-pound packages of meat during the parade. We’ll be handing out tickets that people can bring to the National Beef booth at the activity center and get a frozen pound of hamburger,” he said.
There will be cash prizes for the parade winners. First place will win $200, second will take home $100 and third will receive $50. Winners will be announced at the Seward County Activity Center.
The festivities will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Seward County Activity Center. Featured musical entertainment will include Mariachi Real del Oro from Denver and Manuel Hernandez. There will also be an exhibit of Zumba Dancing and then live music for a popular dance.
“We’re going to have special games for the kids and the adults,” said Enrique Franz, the entertainment chair, “but one of the things we’re doing different this year is having popular music for the audience to enjoy dancing.”
Another new addition to the entertainment will be a trampoline bungee jump. “We’re going to be doing this outside but it’s proved to be a big hit at other events,” Aragon said.
Anyone interested in entering their home-made salsa in the Salsa Contest need to bring a quart of it to the festivities. First prize is $100, second prize is $75 and third is $50.
For those who have the stomach for it, there is the Jalapeno Eating Contest, with first place $100, second place $75 and third place $50.
“There will be something going on all the time,” Aragon said. “And plenty to do at all the booths.”
The fun is not scheduled to end until 6:30 p.m.
Booth space is still available for businesses and/or organizations at the Seward County Activity Center. Cost is $150 for profits and free to non-profits. Contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 624-3855 for more information. “This is a great time to connect with the community and also reach some new clients and volunteers in the Hispanic community,” said Aragon.
“One of the things that make this event so successful is that the proceeds are given back to help the community, like scholarships to Seward County Community College and Area Technical School and donations to non-profit organizations like the Seward County United Way,” Aragon said.
The Cinco de Mayo Committee gave out $3,900 in scholarships in 13 scholarships on Monday, April 19, at the Liberal High School Academic Awards Banquet. Receiving the scholarships were Blake Abbott, Teresa Dinh, John Frazier, Cesar Garcia, Emily Jackson, Maggie Maier, Bryan Murillo, Morgan Riggs, Valerie Rito, Brooke Scheurman, Megan Scheurer, Adiran Vazquez and Lydia Young. This year’s Queen candidates will also receive scholarships.
This year’s sponsors of the event include platinum level sponsors - National Beef Packing and Windjammer Cable; gold level sponsors – McDonald’s Restaurants, Black Hills Energy, Community Bank, Epic Touch, First National Bank, Golden Plains Credit Union, State Farm Insurance (Jerry Harding); silver level sponsors – Billy’s Mexican Grill and Blue Duck Barbecue, Vargas Restaurant, Pizza Hut, Flooring America & Furniture Outlet, National Carriers, United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; and bronze level sponsors – Mortgages Unlimited, Patron, Gorditas 2 Go, Long Insurance Agency, Gilmore Roustabout Services and Southern Pioneer Electric. Other sponsors include Southwest Times, Southern Office Supply, Liberal Office Machines, Best Market, LaMexicana 101.5, Stanion Wholesale Electric, Heritage Real Estate Group, Bank of America, Red Bell Cleaners, Super Sign, Versus Sign and Bank of Beaver City.
For more information about Cinco de Mayo sponsorships and activities, contact Dean Aragon, 655-7149.