Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It was a battle over debt, with France and other European countries seeking to collect on defaulted loans to Mexican President Benito Juárez’s government.
France, under the rule of Napoleon III, refused to negotiate, and the ensuing battle at Puebla de Los Angeles pitted about 6,000 Frenchmen against roughly 2,000 Mexicans led by General Ignacio Zaragoza (born in Texas, by the way). After a day of fighting, the French retreated (although they would go on to march on Mexico City).
Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. The date is generally celebrated mainly in the Mexican state of Puebla but not nationwide. It is not “the Mexican Independence Day” or “the Mexican Fourth of July.”
Show a bit of respect
So, what is Cinco de Mayo to Americans?
Well, for Mexican-Americans, it’s a chance to share culture and celebrate their heritage among themselves and with non-Mexican-Americans. The adoptive popularity of the date among white society provides an impetus and opportunity for cultural outreach.
For businesses, however, Cinco de Mayo (much like St. Patrick’s Day) provides an opportunity to co-opt that culture and steer it into capitalist gain. From parties sponsored by alcoholic-beverage companies to the sales of cheap sombreros and the like, it’s a cash grab based on marketing to people looking for an excuse to get hammered.
So, if you’re keen to celebrate this Saturday, DO raise a toast to the memory of the brave Mexicans who stared down the French despite the odds well-stacked against them. Their grit resembles the kind of patriotic ferocity many Americans (and especially Oklahomans) wholeheartedly embrace.
But DON’T get absolutely hammered because you think that’s what Cinco de Mayo is all about (no matter what the makers of Tecate and Patron might tell you). Also, just like with Native American war bonnets, if you’re not Mexican, don’t wear a sombrero, poncho or fake mustache that makes a cheap costume out of real culture. In short, don’t be THAT guy/gal.
Bottom line: If Cinco de Mayo is merely an excuse to party for you, that’s fine, just be respectful.
On to the list
Just like St. Patrick’s Day, this year’s Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday, and that coincidence won’t occur again until 2029. To help plan your enjoyment of this chronological oddity accordingly, NonDoc has put together the following list of events and observations.
(Note: Although all of the following events take place Saturday, we would be remiss to exclude an event happening tonight: Capitol Hill’s Calle dos Cinco Mexican block party will kick off 6 p.m. at 2512 S. Harvey Ave. in OKC. Live music, salsa tasting and more is planned.)
This Midtown restaurant’s Cinco De Mayo Celebration will feature happy hour prices all day as well as half-priced tacos, $3 tequila shots and $4 premium tequila shots. La Gitana, a special craft cerveza brewed with mint, will also be unveiled.
The Bricktown location’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration will feature $6.95 flag margaritas and $5 Mexican draft beer all day.
The parking lot will be filled during Cinco De Mayo with six tents of outdoor seating, four satellite bars, one extra-large food tent, handmade tortillas, three kinds of tacos, nachos and a photo booth. The Carte Blanche DJ crew will also perform.
On the Border
It’s probably safe to say any of the OTB locations in the metro will have something going on, but the Northwest Expressway location hypes its Cinco Like You Mean It party, featuring $5 cinco ‘ritas, giveaways and live music on the patio from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Free admission.
3 Tequilas (Edmond)
The Drinko de Mayo party will feature music, margarita specials, $3 Patron shots and giveaways. Buy a Big Mama or Mamasota and get a free T-shirt.
51st Street Speakeasy
Techno de Mayo will feature DJ Knowhere Sands and Boot Lüu.
Beginning at 2 p.m., festivities will include free carne asada street tacos, $2 tequila shots, $3 margaritas and trivia for prizes.
CINCO DE MAYO FIESTA! will include $2 cervezas and $3 margaritas, while live music will feature Zach Andrew (from Born in November) and Clifton Johnson.
¡Lucha de Mayo! will feature live rock music from Los Eskeletos and Wicked Shimmies while classic luchador action films play on TVs around the bar. One free drink for those in costume as a luchador, and prizes will be awarded at midnight for best costume.
Starting at 2 p.m., Cinco De Mayo festivities will include drink specials, nachos and beer pong, flip cup and corn hole on the back patio (weather permitting).
Henry Hudson’s (all locations)
From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., locations will be giving away $100 to lucky guests as part of the C-Note Giveaway. Purchases of Dos Equis will net the bearer an extra entry.
The Landing Zone (Midwest City)
This establishment’s Cinco de Mayo celebration will feature $5 margaritas, $3 Coronas, $6 Espolon shots, $7 Tequila Sunrises and $4 guaco-tacos.
Louie’s Highland Park (Edmond)
Sangria and Coronaritas will be ons special during this location’s Cinco de Mayo. T-shirts and other swag items will be available as giveaways.
Billing itself as Oklahoma’s best margarita bar, their Cinco De Mayo Celebration has featured food and drink specials all week long. Games and raffles will conclude the celebration Saturday night.
Snarky’s Hideaway (Midwest City)
Cinco De Mayo Hideaway Style will feature $5 margaritas, $5.50 Mexican imports with a well shot, street tacos and chips and salsa.
Stonecloud Brewing Company
Housed in the old Sunshine Laundry & Cleaners building, their Cinco de Mayo party teams up with Taco Nation OKC for beers and tacos. Featured beers include Mexican Mole Stout, Pilsner with Fresh Lime Zest and Havana Affair pilsner with a twist. Beers ready at noon, tacos from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo At VENU will feature Juan Cordova aka DJ Red Handed plus food and drink specials including $3 imported beer, $2 shots and a special Cinco de Mayo fishbowl.
Cinco on 7th Street will feature live music, laser shows, fog machines, multiple satellite bars and craft tacos by event partner Cultivar Mexican Kitchen.
Cinco de Salsa on SW 29th
Organizers urge you to “be authentic” and judge salsa creations from local chefs at the first-ever Cinco de Salsa on SW 29th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Economy Square (corner of SW 29th Street and South May Avenue). Top Chef Mexico star Chef Aquiles will emcee. For sponsorships or to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 513-2184.
The Tower Theater
(Editor’s note: The listings above were culled largely from social media. If you have or know of an event excluded from this list, please feel free to leave details in the comments.)