Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May in Spanish, has become a day of celebration for both Mexico and the United States. It is, contrary to many beliefs, not Mexico's Independence Day, which is Sept. 16.
Rather, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when a small Mexican militia defeated a French army of occupational forces.
Today, that victory is celebrated with food, drink, music and dancing in many cities and towns, and has come to symbolize a union of Mexican and American cultures.
In the Wood River Valley, a variety of events will be held. The annual Cinco de Mayo feast and party at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Hailey will feature an entire day of food, games and celebrations, rain or shine.
"Small becomes powerful when it's purpose driven," said Sister Gina Burrichter of St. Charles. "I want to thank everyone who so generously donated to this event. This is important."
Several valley residents gathered raffle items, cooked food and organized a variety of games to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
From noon to 5 p.m. there will be traditional Mexican food for $8, including pork, rice, salad and desserts. In addition, more than 15 booths of various games will be open all day, for all ages.
A raffle drawing at 5 p.m. will include a weeklong vacation in Las Vegas, wool area rugs, a Scott speedster bicycle, paintings and many prizes of money, as well as several gift certificates to area stores and restaurants. Raffle tickets are $1 each or 12 for $10.
At 4:30 p.m. there will be the traditional "folklorico" Mexican dance in which women will perform in long Mexican-styled dresses. For more information, about events and donations, call 788-3024.
Other area events include the Cinco de Mayo Chess Tournament, which takes place at the Wood River High School Common Room in Hailey for grades K through 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, call 578-5020, ext. 2239.
A Cinco de Mayo Golf Scramble will be held at the Bigwood Golf Course in Ketchum. Sign-up at the pro shop, or call 726-4024 for more information.
Finally, at nexStage Theatre in Ketchum, at 9 p.m. there will be an all-ages, alcohol-free fiesta with tacos, and other ethnic foods. There will also be dancing to a DJ.