In May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped Mexican army beat back a French force nearly three times its number at the Battle of Puebla.
That moment echoes through the victories of the small business owners throughout downtown Pasco, said Luke Hallowell, the executive director of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority.
“We’re celebrating that David and Goliath spirit,” Hallowell said about Pasco’s Cinco de Mayo event. “We have an immigrant population that has come and has beat the odds in some way.”
Downtown Pasco is filled with stories of immigrants who started successful businesses including grocery stores, furniture shops and bakeries, he said.
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For Hallowell, Cinco de Mayo is a chance to celebrate the people who help downtown Pasco.
“I’m really excited because I feel like we built the foundation of something really meaningful here in downtown,” he said. “Today is about bringing ... the spirit of our community here.”
Thousands of people joined the two-day festivity either at a Friday evening parade and horse dancing, or at Saturday’s events focused on the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Lewis Street.
Throughout the day music, fashion and other performances were on display on the stage, starting with the Wenatchee High School mariachi band. After the group left the stage, they clustered around a table and signed calendars for a crowd of people.
I’m really excited because I feel like we built the foundation of something really meaningful here in downtown. Today is about bringing ... the spirit of our community here.
Luke Hallowell, Downtown Pasco Development Authority
It was the first time that Carla Alcaraz, one of the band’s violin players, had come to Pasco’s Cinco de Mayo, and she was excited to share the music.
A Wenatchee High School senior, Alcaraz appreciates the chance mariachi band gives her to learn more about the Mexican culture.
For her, Cinco de Mayo is a chance for all Latinos to celebrate their heritage.
“It’s a day to come and celebrate and enjoy who we are,” she said. “That’s what I think is the most important, is who we are and where we come from.”
One of the businesses recognized was Fourth Avenue’s Tacos Palomino, which took home the top prize in the second annual Pasco Taco Crawl. An excited Connie Palomino received the award during the Saturday celebration.
Crawlers purchased books of vouchers for a taco at 20 different eateries, then voted for their favorites.
Connie and her husband, Alex, opened the business 10 years ago, and she said the prize was humbling.
“It means a lot because the community got to vote,” she said.
She grew up in Pasco and went to school and Boys and Girls Club there, and was happy to give back to the organization.
Cinco de Mayo means a chance for people to get together, she said.
“I’m happy to be able to celebrate here in Pasco with a whole bunch of people from different ethnicities who are enjoying this festivity,” she said.