The Yakima Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, with event coordinators promising "mouth-watering" food and fun for the whole family.

The event, planned for Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, will feature entertainment, a horsemanship show and parade, a car show, street soccer,  a basketball tournament, a talent show, food vendors, information booths, royalty — and the list goes on.

“It looks bigger and better,” said Maria Rodriguez, chair for the Cinco de Mayo planning committee.

The Cinco de Mayo celebration received $20,000 in funding last year from Yakima’s economic development fund, according to the adopted 2018 budget. But that funding was slashed in the 2019 budget, as city officials tried to find ways to offset various deficits, including a $780,000 gap between revenue and expenses in its general fund.

Rodriguez said funding for this year’s celebration came from Yakima Federal Savings and Loan, the event’s primary sponsor.  She also extended thanks to the event’s volunteer committee, Robert Muñoz, Hugo Fernandez, Leo Zuñiga, Lucy Dominguez and Ruben Rojas.

Historically, the observation of Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862.  In Mexico, the day traditionally includes military parades and recreations of the Battle of Puebla, while in the United States, celebrations have become a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage with parades, parties, mariachi music, traditional Mexican food and folk dancing.

Yakima’s event will honor Mexican heritage through the Charro parade, where charros  — or Mexican horsemen and cowboys, in traditional, elaborate dress — will represent the different regions of Mexico while they compete with their horses. Anyone can sign up to be part of the parade, at no cost.  

Another highlight will be the “biggest car show in Eastern Washington,” coordinated by Rollerz Only Car Club and set to take place on Sunday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Chamber is also recruiting candidates for its Ms. Cinco scholarships. The Chamber’s website stresses that the contest is “not a beauty pageant.”  Finalists will be selected based on scholastic ability (candidates must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA), community involvement and leadership that shows a desire “to serve as a role model for young women.”

“The contest empowers them to discover their cultural heritage, leadership and social skills and partake in community projects,” the Chamber’s website notes.

Three young ladies will receive the scholarships — at $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place — and also journey to learn about local, state and federal government, public speaking skills and professional relationship building. The deadline to apply is March 29, 201

Sponsor forms, vendor applications (in English and Spanish), and Ms. Cinco scholarship applications are available for download at the Chamber’s website at www.yakimahispanicchamber.com. Those interested in more information about any of the celebration’s events can call 509-453-2050, visit the chamber’s website, or connect through Facebook at Yakimacinco-de-mayo-fiesta.