Wednesday kicks off the weeklong activities and celebrations for Cinco de Mayo.
Carol Uranga, owner of Carol's Ambulances and a member of Odessa's LULAC branch, said that the festivities are always held in weeklong intervals but that they are usually from Saturday to Saturday.
"We always try to have it to where Cinco de Mayo is in the middle of the activities," Uranga said. "This year it is on a Saturday so we decided to start the activities on Wednesday. This year will also be the first year for us to work directly with the people at Fiesta West Texas."
Fiesta West Texas is a weekend long festival aimed to celebrate Hispanic culture in the community. Many other local organizations and restaurants will be sponsoring or hosting events for the various celebrations this year.
Uranga has been involved with LULAC since 1989 but says there has always been celebrations holiday put together by churches and members of the community. She said that the celebrations have a specific meaning for her within the community.
"We are trying to create an experience for all of Odessa. So that more people can participate in our Hispanic culture," Uranga said. "Our traditions, backgrounds and customs have made a great impact on the nation."
Eloisa Aguilar has been involved with the planning of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations for just under six years and said that they are busy year-round but the work pays off.
"We are busy all year long especially around Cinco de Mayo and September 16," Aguilar said. "I think it's a tradition that everyone knows about and looks forward to. Even people that feel like they don't understand will come out and learn about the tradition. It's nice."
Cinco de Mayo has long been celebrated in the United States and is largely an exhibition of Mexican heritage and culture, Uranga said. But, as LULAC Branch President and UTPB Professor, Yolanda Salgado points out the festivities are an exercise in bringing the community together and developing a sense of multicultural unity.
"It takes a whole community working together to function properly," Salgado said. "Unless we understand the different beliefs and cultures, there will be clashes. There will be clashes if we don't understand each other."
All of the events listed below are free to the public. Fiesta West Texas is free for children four and under. The event will kick off Friday and end Sunday.
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