If turn out is any indication of a successful event, the downtown Cinco de Mayo celebration was a hit.
Hundreds poured into the 18th Street Plaza Wednesday for food and live music for an event Starr Lehl, Scottsbluff economic development director, said would “definitely” return next year.
“We’re so fortunate to live here and have the integration between the community,” Lehl said. “We’ll definitely do it next year.”
The event was nearly halted on its maiden voyage when rain dampened the festivities. However, once the rain cleared up, the crowds poured in.
In addition to the live music and food, margaritas, jalapeño beer, several events such as a a car show on Broadway and a taco contest judged by the mayor, took place as part of the celebration.
Francisco Valencia came for the car show.
“I just come to the shows just to support the community and support everybody else,” Valencia said. “But if I could win anything that would be great.”
Valencia said he was glad the City of Scottsbluff decided to launch the event.
“We should have more things like this going on,” he said. “We need more activities. We need more union within the community.”
Valencia said he felt the event allowed for people to have fun in a safe space while showcasing downtown Scottsbluff. Specifically, Valencia said events like this allow young people to get out.
Organizers said the event has two goals: attract people to downtown Scottsbluff and celebrate Hispanic and Mexican heritage in the city. It was started by the same duo who launched Bands on Broadway, Lehl and local business owner Richard Castro.
In a recent interview, Castro told the Star-Herald he was approached by a friend who wanted to have an event like Bands on Broadway aimed at Scottsbluff’s Hispanic and Latino communities.
“And I started thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s true, why don’t they do one?’ So that always stuck in the back of my mind,” Castro said.
The city scheduled the first event for 2020, but COVID-19 pushed the event back a year.
The timing worked out perfectly for Jessica Mesa and her uncle Angel Mesa. Angel Mesa just moved to the area from Colorado, his niece said. They saw a post on Facebook about the event and decided to swing by.
“They’ve never done anything like this before,” Jessica Mesa said.
Jessica and Angel Mesa said they would be among those who return in 2022.