Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Graham County celebrated Cinco de Mayo with its annual parade Downtown on Saturday and a fiesta afterward at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Graham County celebrates Cinco de Mayo

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – While technically it celebrates the Mexican Army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, in the Gila Valley, Cinco de Mayo is a time to celebrate Hispanic Heritage with a fiesta.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Youth get excited about the parade.

That heritage was on display as hundreds turned out for the annual parade down Main Street, followed by a day of events at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

There was plenty of food and family fun to spread around as well as a wide variety of entertainment from the different groups throughout the day. There were also games for children, tasty treats, and a bounce house.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Graham County Superintendent Donna McGaughey won Most Colorful and Traditional for her float entry in the parade.

The Gila Herald caught up with Safford City Vice-Mayor Richard Ortega as he cooked hamburgers for the Knights of Columbus.

“It’s a nice family event,” Ortega said.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Hispanic Heritage was on full display during the parade and fiesta.

People came and went throughout the event, which also serves as a fundraiser for the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. It wasn’t the only church to do so, however, as Sherry Brady and the First United Methodist Church had its dunk tank station on hand to raise funds to help in its upcoming humanitarian mission.

“We always like to invite everyone to come down and enjoy it,” Ortega said.

Parade Winners

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Jr. Miss Mt. Turnbull hands out candy during the parade.

Best Float: Safford First United Methodist Church

Best Musical: Triumphant Learning Center

Special Merit: Humanity Served With a Smile

Most Unique: Redneck

Best Dancers: Safford Dance Academy

Best Car Entry: Peru Family

Best Spirit: UPS

Most Colorful and Traditional: Donna McGaughey

Most Participants: SEACAB