An array of colorful dresses, Spanish music and the smells of Mexico are set to come alive next month in a celebration that symbolizes the mixture of American and Mexican culture.
Leticia’s Mexican Cocina is scheduled to host its fifth annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration at the Village of Centennial Springs, 7585 Norman Rockwell Lane, from 3 p.m. to midnight May 3.
“We’ve been putting on this event since we opened our doors,” said Leticia Mitchell, executive chef and founder of Leticia’s Mexican Cocina. “So many people have told me, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this culture even existed.’ ”
The free festival is set to have ongoing live music, food, carnival rides and games.
A stage will be set up to provide entertainment with mariachi musicians and folklorico dancers from Mexico Vivo Dance Company.
“We are going to have mariachi bands, singers and folklorico and Aztec dancers with unique styles that represent different states of Mexico,” said Ixela Gutierrez, owner and producer of the company.
Mitchell, a native of Mexico City, said Cinco de Mayo should not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated in September. Cinco de Mayo originated from the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
“Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in the city of Puebla in Mexico,” Mitchell said. “It has since become Americanized and seen as yet another reason to party.”
Last year, there were approximately 8,000 people who attended the festival, according to Mitchell. She said she expects the same result this year.
Mitchell added that her kitchen is set to provide traditional Mexican food, such as tacos, grilled corn, guacamole, churros and hot dogs with pico de gallo, onions and bacon.
There will also be a full bar available with margaritas, beers and tequila.
This year’s festival will benefit the Las Vegas chapter of the American Heart Association. The nonprofit organization fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.
“Hispanics have a very high rate of heart failure, heart disease and diabetes,” Mitchell said. “I want to promote healthy eats and hearts.”
Students from Arbor View High School will be selling paper hearts to benefit the organization.
Mitchell has also invited community vendors to the festival that will be selling candy, arts and crafts, among other items.
Other activities are set to include face painting, a magic show and a clown show. There will also be a rock wall for climbing, a train and life-sized animals that glow in the dark.
In addition, the event will have free raffles and giveaways that include tickets to Disneyland, T-shirts and necklaces.
“Las Vegas is a melting pot of different cultures,” Mitchell said. “I want to bring cultural understanding and a community sense to the area. This is something that’s very near and dear to my heart.”
For more information, visit leticiascocina.com.
Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.