The bright colors of Klamath Falls’ Latino community were on display during our annual Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival Saturday, May 7.
Held during the first Saturday in May, this was the 14th Cinco de Mayo Parade. The parade is sponsored by LCS Northwest’s Hispanic Advisory Committee, which was formed 20 years ago to build a bridge to Klamath’s Latino community.
“The parade has always been important to show our appreciation for diversity,” said Bob Pickel, LCS Northwest Area Director in Klamath Falls. “The parade is colorful and engaging as it flows down Main Street into Veterans Park.”
Every year a Cinco de Mayo queen is crowned after being chosen by the committee. This year’s winner was high school senior Alex Peña. She will attend Klamath Community College next year to study criminal justice. Queen candidates must write an essay about what it means to be Latino, be headed to college next year, and tell about their plans for the future. The crown comes with a small scholarship.
The Cinco de Mayo events drew approximately 1,000 people this year. Advisory committee members who have made major contributions to the Parade and Festival include Dora Hoffmeister, Mike Britton and Bob and Cary Kincaid.
Hoffmeister started the Latino Dancers 13 years ago. They are a group of young people who perform traditional Latino dances in beautiful colorful outfits. The Latino Dancers spent Cinco de Mayo (Thursday, May 5) performing for their sponsors throughout Klamath Falls, including a stop at Head Start and a nursing home. They took part in the parade, and had a big performance at Veteran’s Park.
The festival is more than entertainment, as a number of food trucks and vendors served delicious Latin cuisine at the park. The local Mexican band Los Sismos rocked the park to finish the festival.
“This is really about our agency’s mission and being able to connect with people through service, health and justice,” Pickel said. “It all comes together with this celebration.”