The Scene

Cinco de Mayo celebration to take over Lincoln Highway in DeKalb

The event slated for noon Sunday returns to downtown DeKalb bringing with it array of festivities for all to enjoy

Braxton Hunter, 8, gives a face painter a thumbs up during DeKalb’s first Cinco de Mayo celebration co-hosted by Willrett Flower Co. on Third Street as part of the return of First Fridays in DeKalb on Friday, May 5, 2023.

DeKALB – Organizers behind a Cinco de Mayo celebration planned for downtown DeKalb are looking to bring back the event building on the success had during its inaugural year.

The free event, which will run from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, is expected to take over Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb bringing with it an array of festivities for all to enjoy.

Olivia Pacheco, co-owner at El Jimador Mexican Grill and one of the event’s organizers, said it means a lot to her knowing that the DeKalb Cinco de Mayo celebration is embarking on its second year.

“It brings a lot of our culture out,” Pacheco said. “Cinco de Mayo honestly isn’t big in Mexico as it is here. But it is the winning of [a] battle. But it has a lot to do with our culture, our food, our people bringing everybody together to celebrate.”

Cinco de Mayo is a yearly celebration that marks a date, as historical accounts show, when the Mexican army reigned victorious over the French in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862.

Organizers behind the Cinco de Mayo celebration plan to have a stage lineup with live entertainment, a lowrider show, food trucks, vendor booths and an entertainment area for children.

New this time around is a wagon parade led by a horse and performers from the Ballet Folkloric New Generation of Rochelle Township High School followed by wagon floats created by local businesses. Spectators are encouraged to bring a chair and find a spot to view the procession when it kicks off all the festivities at noon Sunday along Lincoln Highway, between Second and Third streets.

Pacheco said Cinco de Mayo is meant to appeal to a wide audience.

“That’s why we have a little bit for everybody,” Pacheco said. “We have a kids’ area. We have a beer garden for adults. We will have drinks-to-go. We have vendors, entertainment, food. So, we are trying to bring everybody together.”

Pacheco said she and other organizers have been working hard to make the event a success.

“We’ve been planning it since the beginning of the year,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco said her ancestors would be pleased to see that Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated in DeKalb.

“They would know that … the battle didn’t happen in vain [and] that we’re still remembering the battle that they went through,” she said.

Pacheco said it’s always great seeing the way the community comes together in celebration of Mexican culture because it’s really important to her.

“It’s really big for us. It’s really big that we’re able to bring a lot of people together,” Pacheco said. “It’s what our culture is. Our culture has always been bringing people together making a strong bond with people and that’s what we’re doing with this event.”

Megann Horstead

Megann Horstead

Megann Horstead is a multi-award-winning news reporter for the Daily Chronicle, covering city government and schools in DeKalb. Her news reporting experience led to a first place award in local government beat reporting from the Illinois Press Association.