Kremmling celebrates Cinco de Mayo
Special to the Sky-Hi News
In spite of rain and cool temperatures, Kremmling’s first Cinco de Mayo party saw an estimated 180 attendees enjoying fun, food and friends at the Tuesday evening celebration.
Cinco de Mayo, meaning the fifth of May in Spanish, commemorates the surprising victory of the Mexican army over the French in a battle in Puebla, Mexico, in 1892. While it is mostly honored regionally in Mexico, the date has been adopted and popularized by Mexican-Americans as a celebration of culture and ethnicity.
Hosted by the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce, the event was set against a background of festive Mexican and Latin music such as Rancheras and Caribbean Cumbia. The smell of freshly grilled carnitas and carne asada filled the air. Margaritas and soda were served at a cash bar and even sticky Tres Leches cupcakes could be had with Dulce de Leche frosting.
Live entertainment was provided in the form of Kalerin the Clown, traditional dancers and numerous contests. Attendees could take part in a salsa-tasting contest, a pepper-eating challenge, a mustache contest and numerous piñata smashing opportunities.
However, the fiesta was significant for more than its inaugural party status: It represents the first community-organized event to bring Kremmling’s long-time Hispanic population into the actual organizing and implementation itself.
The 2010 census counted 12 percent of Kremmling residents as of Hispanic origin, and the county-wide number was estimated at 8 percent in 2013. In the schools, the numbers of young people of Hispanic origin is even higher. According to the Colorado Department of Education’s 2014 student data, Hispanics comprise 13 percent of students in the East Grand School District and 24 percent in West Grand schools.
In Kremmling, most of these residents are of Mexican origin with families like the Dominguez family who moved from Zacatecas, Mexico, more than 15 years ago and have owned several businesses since, including the popular Los Amigos restaurants in Kremmling and Granby. Or the growing Castillo clan, of whom seven cousins relocated from Chihuahua, Mexico, over a decade ago to create a life for their families in Kremmling.
When new Kremmling Chamber Director Shelly McManus recognized the ignored status of Cinco de Mayo in the county, she knew she needed the collaboration of the Hispanic community to make such an event a success.
“I couldn’t have done it without them, “ she said. “They were wonderful to work with. The whole community pitched in, showed up and supported the event.”
She gave special recognition to Antonio Dominguez, son of Los Amigos proprietors Rafael and Juana.
“He really stepped up with great energy and ideas, like the inclusion of the school and the West Grand Spanish Club, Club Arriba.”
The club then studied the history of Cinco de Mayo, made piñatas to donate to the event, and were the beneficiaries of half of all contest entries, money which will go toward a planned educational trip to Latin America in 2017.
For his part, Antonio was also excited about the reception of the event.
“It is important to see the integration,” he remarked. “We need to keep bringing the best parts of our cultures together for the community, so that we are together in protecting against the worse elements.”
As for the rest of the community, they came out in force to support the event as well. Individuals, families and the many teenagers coming in and out all seemed to have enjoyed the evening.
Kremmling Town Mayor Tom Clark was overheard to say, “We definitely need to keep this going.”
And that sentiment seemed to be echoed in the comments already heard about “next year.” ¡Vive el Cinco!
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Grand Lake is still standing one year after the East Troublesome Fire, and the town celebrated the people who helped make that happen on Saturday.