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Cinco de Mayo celebrated in Brawley

May 05, 2012|By ELIZABETH VARIN | Staff Writer
  • 2011 Cinco de Mayo queen Jocelyn Nunez fixes the robe of 2012 queen Amanda Rae Garcia after crowning Amanda the new queen Saturday evening.

BRAWLEY — The long line of classic cars and past queens filled a portion of Main Street and Cesar Chavez Street on their way to Longfellow Park.

The groups started moving down the way, and the Cinco de Mayo queens of the past started waving, making their way to the celebration and the history behind the Hidalgo Society.

The group that is dedicated to preserving the area’s Mexican heritage and improving the community celebrated not only its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, but also its 90th anniversary Saturday at the park outside the headquarters.

It’s a celebration of life and community, said Hidalgo Society President Eric Reyes. The group had a softball tournament, horseshoes, a car show, parade and queen coronation.

The event is geared toward families and passing on the culture to the children, he said.

“It’s beautiful, to continue these traditions of our culture,” he said. “…I hope it never ends.”

Others agreed as they came out with family and friends.

Alma Lopez was among the crowd, not only during the event, but as part of the parade. She was Cinco de Mayo queen in 1975, and said it made her feel special being asked to be in the parade with all the others.

She’s been going to the event since she was little, and said it used to be a lot bigger taking up the street outside of the Hidalgo Society building. The numbers have been down, though this year got a little bigger with all the families of the past queens. She hopes that more people are drawn back to the event.

Among those that may come back is Daniel Becerra with La Gente Car Club. He said he felt like a real champion Saturday after his truck won the first place for the car show.

The car club and Becerra have been going to the event for years because they get to spend time together, he said. It’s a good event, and the group gets to be part of the parade.

The car show took up a portion of the park, along with the softball tournament, horseshoe pit, stage and food stands.

There’s “a little bit of everything for the whole day,” said George Valenzuela with the Hidalgo Society and Valley Kings Car Club.

It’s a time to celebrate and have fun every year, he said. The event is very family oriented, and a lot of people came out.

“Hopefully every year it gets bigger and better,” he said.

Nearing the end of the day-long event was the parade and queen coronation.

2011 Queen Jocelyn Núñez and Junior Queen Parker Valdez crowned this year’s royalty, Queen Amanda Rae Garcia, Junior Queen Faith Diaz and Princess Kamrynn Banba.

Queen Amanda said she felt proud and happy that she was named queen this year. Being in the parade and crowned was a good experience, especially that moment when Núñez put the crown on here.

It was like “I was there and her power was going to me,” she said. “I felt honored, and I felt ready.”

She’s looked forward to that moment for years as she would see the wall full of the images of past queens on the wall of the Hidalgo Society, she said. She’s always wanted to be the Cinco de Mayo queen.

Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at or 760-337-3441.

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