Cinco De Mayo (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

While historically Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the Mexican army defeating French forces in 1862, today the holiday has become popular in the U.S. as a way to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage. This is even more so in California, which has a rich and rooted history with our southern neighbors. The Bay Area is home to a multitude of people passionate about Latin American culture, and Cinco de Mayo provides the perfect day to celebrate it. Join in the festivities by attending one of these celebrations. For even more ideas, see previous year’s events.

San Francisco Cinco De Mayo Celebration
Valencia St. between 21st and 24th Streets
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 206-7752
Date: May 7, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 7 will mark the 12th annual San Francisco Cinco De Mayo Festival. Held along Valencia Street between 21st and 24th Streets, the celebration is easily accessible from BART and MUNI. The festival will have two stages of live entertainment which will showcase a variety of Latin American music including Mariachi bands, local artists and salsa. Children will enjoy the designated kids zone complete with a petting zoo, balloon animals and a hilarious clown. While this family-friendly event is alcohol-free, festival goers will enjoy perusing more than 65 booths full of arts and crafts and cultural wares, or sampling from one of the delectable food vendors.

Cinco 5K Run Fiesta
Anheuser-Busch Visitors Center
3101 Busch Dr.
Fairfield, CA 94534
(707) 429-7595
Date: May 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A more recent event, this May will be the second annual Cinco K Run Fiesta. The 5K run is sponsored by North Bay Healthcare and all benefits proceed the Fairfield Police Activities League. The event includes a 5K, a 10K and a one-mile walk, and all participants over 21 are rewarded with beer and tacos at the finish line. Those looking to enjoy the festivities without the exertion will have the option to purchase a special No Cinco K ticket which includes the tacos, beer, festival and a commemorative T-shirt without the running. The fiesta will also feature a variety of entertainment ranging from kids’ activities and mariachi bands to even a mechanical bull.

Richmond Cinco De Mayo Parade And Festival
Clinton Ave. and 23rd St.
Richmond, CA 94804
(510) 221-9006
Date: Apr. 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Each year, the city of Richmond holds both a parade and festival to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This year’s parade route will wind approximately one mile along 23rd street in Richmond. The all-day festival will include three stages of live entertainment, as well as plenty of tantalizing food and drink. There will also be kids’ activities and dancing horses.

Piedmont Language School’s Cinco De Mayo Celebration
Piedmont Community Hall
711 Highland Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 652-5229
Date: May 25, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Piedmont Language School is a non-profit that offers supplemental language education for preschoolers through 6th graders. Programs are offered in both Mandarin and Spanish, and each year the school holds a special Cinco de Mayo celebration to showcase Latin American and Mexican culture. The Thursday night festival will be held at the Piedmont Community Hall, where festival goers will enjoy everything from an all-you-can-eat taco truck and live entertainment to crafts and games for the kids. Adult and child tickets can be purchased individually, and a discounted family ticket is also offered.

Hola 5K San Jose
Discovery Meadow
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 298-7657
Date: May 7, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Held the Saturday after Cinco de Mayo, the Hola 5K was designed to encourage the Hispanic community to engage in physical activity and combat obesity. This family-friendly event includes not only a 5K, but also a kids run for children aged five to thirteen and post-race fiesta. The run is stroller friendly and will both start and finish at Discovery Meadows in front of the Children’s Discovery Museum. Early race registrants will receive a ticket to either the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum or the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on