By Valerie Heimerich

Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. That fateful day saw General Ignacio Zaragoza lead the Mexican Army in defeating the French forces of Emperor Napoleon III. In modern times, though, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the culture, history, dance, food and music of Mexico. One particular ingredient from Mexico is sure to be popular in Sacramento this year. To earn the name “tequila”, the spirit must be made in Jalisco, Mexico and be distilled from blue agave. For many in Sacramento, a Cinco de Mayo celebration would be incomplete without healthy doses of tequila.

Cinco de Mayo Festival 2017
Southside Park
2115 6th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Date: May 7, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bring the family to this free, lively festival on a sunny Sunday at Southside Park. Musical entertainment will include live concerts by 11-piece Salsa band Conjunto Liberacion, Latin/Urban duo Rey y Kaye, Sacred Fire Band, legendary Latin-rock band Sapo and more. Excellent Mexican food will be available, and guests can enjoy original art and an auto and motorcycle show. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, truly extraordinary performances will include Ballet Folklorico, Samba, Salsa and Aztec dancers and Colombia Viva Dance.

Related: Best Spicy Food Restaurants In Sacramento

1801 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 441-0303

For a fine-dining experience on Cinco de Mayo, look no further than Zócalo. The gourmet Mexican cuisine is flawlessly prepared and the ambience is both festive and refined; the bar menu at Zócalo has also developed quite a devoted following. There are several specialty margaritas, each served on ice and made with organic agave, fresh lime juice and 100% blue agave tequila. The house margarita includes pureed organic blackberries, while the La Granada is made with elderflower liqueur and pomegranate juice. Cadillac and other classic margaritas are offered, as well as unique variations created with ingredients like mango puree, cucumber liqueur and fresh touches of spice, vanilla and orange peel.

Sacramento Public Library
Main Branch
828 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 264-2700

The Sacramento Public Library system offers many ways for both adults and children to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. There are fun and informative choices for kids of all ages, including books about the food, dances, festivals and history of the big day. Library members can also check out Jose-Luis Orozco’s music CDs for children, including “Corridos mexicanos y chicanos” and “Fiestas”. For adults, options include DVDs from The History Channel, e-books, cookbooks with festive Cinco de Mayo recipes, nonfiction historical essays and even Cinco-centric mystery novels. Some items are available at numerous library locations in the Sacramento region and, in some cases, can be sent directly to your local branch for pick-up.

Oscar’s Very Mexican Food
3061 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 443-8309

For 16 years, Oscar’s original restaurant on Freeport Boulevard has been a Sacramento icon for Mexican food; the large servings and low prices make it especially popular with students from nearby McClatchy High School. For a savory and satisfying morning on Cinco de Mayo, try one of Oscar’s massive burritos; favorites include the carne asada, potato, egg and cheese burrito, a bacon burrito and the machacha version with tomato, onion, cheese, egg and bell peppers. The restaurant turns out great chimichangas, “flying saucer” tostadas and a selection of beef rolled tacos. Diners rave about two specialty dishes; the California burrito stuffed with carne asada, cheese, French fries and pico de gallo and the delectable carne asada fries.

The Latino Center of Art and Culture
2700 Front St.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 446-5133

This nonprofit organization maintains a diverse, cultural center with workshops and activities celebrating Latino, Native and Chicano arts. Among the group’s focuses are the cultural pride, community empowerment and self-expression that can come from involvement in the arts. The Center also has a public space for sharing stories, creating artwork and more.

Related: Best Places To See Local Musicians In Sacramento


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