Cinco de Mayo event at Fourth Street Live! to celebrate what day means to locals
Fourteen years after the 1848 Mexican War, in the City of Puebla, the Mexican victory over the French became known as Cinco De Mayo on May 5, 1862 — a historically significant victory because it was the first time that war-torn Mexico defeated a foreign invader in battle.
On that day, Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin (Mexico’s military leader who defeated Gen. Santa Anna) together with a smaller, poorly armed militia of about 4,500 men, vanquished a well-equipped French army of 6,500 soldiers, stopping the French invasion of Mexico at the City of Puebla’s Forts Loreto and Guadalupe.
It was the first French defeat since Waterloo in 1815. And because the French sympathized with the Confederacy during that same time in 1862, U.S. Latinos of Mexican heritage in California parlayed the victory as a rallying cry that the Union could also win the American Civil War.
That’s when Cinco De Mayo began being celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico.
It’s no wonder that both Americans and Mexicans celebrate this holiday as Cinco De Mayo every year here in the U.S. In Louisville, it’s our newest “Cinco Sunday” celebration during Kentucky Derby weekend.
On Sunday, May 5, the day after the Kentucky Derby, thousands will join Mayor Greg Fischer at the Cinco de Mayo at Fourth Street Live! Fiesta — an official Lean Into Louisville community event. The mayor will be hosting the fiesta with the largest audience ever and invites the entire community to support the sixth-annual festival.
Lean Into Louisville was announced in January by Fischer as an unprecedented series of presentations, conversations, activities and art exhibits that will explore and confront the history and legacy of all forms of discrimination and inequality in the city and the country.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration is a free fiesta event for the whole family at downtown Louisville’s Fourth Street Live! from 2 to 8:30 p.m., celebrated with dancing on the street in the heart of downtown Louisville and entertainment with live music, mariachis, dancing folkloric dancers, piñatas, balloons and more.