Cinco de Mayo Fiesta scheduled for Saturday

Mike Easterling
Trio Los Amigos New Mexico will perform as part of Farmington's Cinco de Mayo Fiesta this weekend.

FARMINGTON – With almost a quarter of the city’s population identifying as Hispanic, it didn’t take parks and recreation officials long to decide on a new event to offer as part of the city’s celebration calendar.

“We kind of looked at our demographic area and realized we have a high Hispanic population and realized we needed an event celebrating their culture,” said Cory Styron, the city’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs director, explaining the origin of Farmington’s new Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

The inaugural version of the event takes place Saturday, May 7 on the lawn outside the Farmington Civic Center. The event will feature three mariachi bands, folk dancing, a jalapeño-eating contest, Chihuahua races, a photo booth, face painting, food vendors, a salsa contest, games, crafts and a cash bar.

Styron said the idea for the fiesta was floated by a member of the city’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs Commission, and city officials acknowledged the idea had a lot of merit when they learned that Farmington’s Hispanic population is 23.6 percent.

City Aquatics Manager Mike Duke has done most of the planning for the event, and he’s hoping the various contests attract a good deal of participation. He said he’s been passing out fliers in local businesses that he hopes will attract entries in the salsa contest, which will feature prizes for first, second and third place, as decided by a panel of judges, and a people’s choice award. The salsas must be made on site, he said.

Mariachi Nuevo Sonido will be featured at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on Saturday, May 7 at the Farmington Civic Center.

A recurring attraction throughout the day will be games of lotería, which Duke described as a game of chance that is a variation on bingo. Games will be played every half hour throughout the day, and prizes will be awarded to the winners, including such items as a chips and salsa platter, a mortar bowl and pestle set, an iced tea maker and a piñata.

Trio Los Amigos New Mexico will perform from noon to 1 p.m., while Mariachi Nuevo Sonido takes the stage from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The New Mexico Marimba Band plays from 4 to 6 p.m. All three groups are based in Albuquerque.

Styron said he’s hoping that between 3,000 and 5,000 people attend the fiesta, which he said likely will become a fixture on the city’s list of annual celebrations.

“We’d like to grow it,” he said. “Obviously, we’ll evaluate the event when it’s over, but the feeling is that there should be an annual event in our community celebrating Hispanic culture.”

The deadline to register for the salsa contest is Thursday, May 5 and 4 p.m. Friday, May 6 for the Chihuahua races and jalapeno-eating contest. Participants can register at

Mike Easterling is the A&E editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

If you go

What: The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 7

Where: The lawn outside the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St.

Admission: Free

For more information: Visit, or call 505-599-1197 or 505-599-1167