Morenci celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Photo By Walt Mares: EAC’s Foloric Troupe perform at Morenci’s Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday at Degrazia Park.

By Walt Mares and Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A good time was had by all at the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in Morenci on Saturday. 

The women’s and men’s Foloric Troupe from Eastern Arizona College made a beautiful day shine all the more with their gorgeous costumes and flawless dancing at the Morenci Cinco de Mayo celebration at DeGrazia Park. The assembled crowd gave loud rounds of applause in approval and appreciation as the troupe finished each dance number. 

There were also plenty of food and libations as an overcast sky and gentle breeze provided an ideal day to be outdoors.

Photo By Walt Mares: The Horn family enjoys a relaxed afternoon at the Morenci Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday. Nestled in dad Richard Horn’s lap is Horn’s youngest while mom Cecilia Horn gives her attention to Nolan and Tucker. Several families with small children and their parents or grandparents were also lying around well-shaded DeGrazia Park during the celebration.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. 

The French were there to set up a monarchy for Maximilian of Austria. While the Mexicans were outnumbered two-to-one, roughly 1,000 French troops were killed during the battle versus less than 100 Mexican troops. 

The battle became a rallying call and eventually the French left Mexico in 1866. 

Photo By Walt Mares: Matthew Alvarez aims for the target during a beanbag-tossing competition at the 2019 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Morenci. His sister Reana Alvarez pays close attention to her brother’s effort. There were many of the targets so several folks could give their best effort at scoring. An example of the targets sits in front of the Alvarezes. The game was quite popular and attracted celebrants of all ages.

After hearing about the battle, those of Mexican heritage in the United States who supported democracy and were going through the United States’ Civil War celebrated voraciously. Today, in the USA, we continue to celebrate the victory for democracy and Mexican heritage. 

In Mexico itself, however, the holiday pales to Mexico’s Independence Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 16.