Wave of Colors
Cinco de Mayo Parade colorful event
Comision Honorifica Mexicana Americana offered more than just a simple parade for the 49th Cinco de Mayo Parade held Saturday on the 95thyear of Cinco de Mayo Fiestas.
With the theme “Reflect on the Past / Embrace the Future” — 2022 Grand Marshal, John Gonzales, smiled and waved as he rode on a red, vintage convertible midway through the parade.
He was followed by the CHMA Cinco de Mayo Queen’s float with the 2021/2022 duo-year Cinco de Mayo Queen Alysia Castillo and Cinco de Mayo Princess Ivette Jaime, along with Junior Miss Cinco de Mayo Queen Hayzel Casas, Little Miss Cinco de Mayo Queen Jeweliette Lucero Vasquez, and Little Miss Cinco de Mayo Princess Nadia Palomar.
The parade itself was filled with the waving of American and Mexican flags, sombreros, serapes, colored pinwheels, music, Mexican cowboys, and more than 400 folkloric dancers, all from Porterville and all students of Grand Marshal Gonzales.
They walked along in their white or colorful skirts depicting different regions in Mexico as they walked down the street in a mass that appeared to take up two blocks. Other dancers could be seen carrying huge baskets filled with flowers and large Crosses covered in colorful tissue, and men dressed in white, holding tall poles topped with giant colorful foil stars and other designs.
Children in the parade, many of them dressed as Charro cowboys and folkloric dancers, could be
seen waving from floats decorated with colored-tissue flowers, pinatas, and Papel Picado — flag strands with elaborate designs cut into colorful sheets of tissue used in Mexican celebrations, parades, restaurants and parties.
It was obvious there was a lot of pride and passion for their Mexican roots and culture.
“The parade was awesome this year. I loved it. It was really good,” said Margarita Gomez of Porterville after the parade. “This was a real Cinco de Mayo parade.”
One young mother, Sarah Elizabeth Villicana-maas referred to the parade as “sensory overload” for her young son, Wesley — but also admitted her hometown parade was great, and as always, she teared up when the bands came marching by, she said.
With 50 entries, the parade also had Lindsay youth cheerleaders, and many of the area’s middle and high school marching bands, an array of vintage and lowrider clubs, decorated bicycles, low-rider bicycles from Santa Fe Elementary, youth doing Tae Kwon Do from Lyon’s Black Belt Academy, and a float from the Tule River Indian Reservation with Princess Lee Lee on drums and Grandpa Ray Flores singing and playing guitar. Spin Academy shined as they performed in their gold-sequined leotards, their heads capped with a Mexican Charro white cowboy hats for the Cinco de Mayo occasion.
The parade began with the Porterville Police Department and Chief of Police Jake Castellow ahead of the American Legion Post 20 Color Guard. They were followed by two folkloric dancers holding the American and Mexican flags, and the CHMA Cinco de Mayo Fiestas and parade-sponsor banners, Porterville City Mayor Martha A. Flores riding and waving from atop of a vintage black Impala convertible from the Royalistics Car Club, with other club vehicles also driving the individual Porterville City Council members down the parade route.
As the Porterville High School Panther Band came into view, two children, Nicole Cardona, 4, and her brother, Rudy, 2, jumped and pointed. Nicole was dressed in a green folkloric dress adorned with colorful ribbons and white lace, with her hair pulled up and topped with a big, red bow as she quietly admitted she wanted to be in the parade one day when she gets older.
The parade continued with numerous colorful floats and groups before coming to an end with Prado of Strathmore pulling a float decorated with giant colorful paper pinwheels and folkloric dancers. Behind them were hundreds of folkloric dancers from Ballet Folklorico Orgullo Mexicano, Gonzalo Castaneda — La Asociacion de Charros del Sur de Zacatecas, and Charros Cerro de Guadalupe.
“We had a wonderful time. It was a big success,” said Elva Beltran, treasurer of CHMA. “This was our 49th. Just wait till next year — our 50th. We are already planning it to be really big.”