With so many people of Mexican descent in the Phoenix area, it's no wonder that Cinco de Mayo is a day much anticipated in the Valley of the Sun. Cinco de Mayo means "fifth of May" in Spanish. It's a day for fun, and food, and music, and dancing.
Many people mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo (seen-koh day my-oh) is Mexican Independence Day, but it is not. Mexican Independence Day is September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico commemorating the Battle of Puebla. On May 5, 1862 a small group of Mexican soldiers defeated a formidable French army that was twice its size. Mexico had long before (September 16, 1810) declared its independence, but there were constant struggles to maintain Mexico's freedom for a long time after the country became independent from Spanish rule. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the fortitude of the Mexican people.
Cinco de Mayo Celebrations
I update this page right up until Cinco de Mayo, so check back for more celebrations around town. These are presented in date order. You can plan to attend several!
Tequila Mixology Contest, Sexy Senorita Dance-Off, Cinco de Miler Morning-After Party (see Cinco de Miler, below), Djs, live music, prizes. Check the schedule for which events happen on each day.In 2014: Thursday, May 1 - Monday, May 5
Avondale Cinco de Mayo
Avondale celebrates Cinco de Mayo, featuring festive Mexican food, drinks, live music, dancing and more. This free event is hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn located directly off the Avondale Blvd south exit from the I-10, at 11460 W. Hilton Way. Dine on tacos, tamales, chips and salsa, sip on margaritas, and dance along with performances of Power Drive, Mariachi Aguila and Ballet Folklorico Esperanza. Mexican arts will also be featured and offered for sale.
In 2014: Friday, May 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cinco de Miler
Three distances from which to choose. This is a fundraiser for Women's Safety & Leadership Training, providing skills and knowledge to girls and women in the fight to defeat crimes against females, and Arizona Magic of Music & Dance, a unique theater program for children and young adults with special needs. Participants get beer, food and live music at the after the race party at Calico Jack's. Register online. Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale.
In 2014: Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 a.m.
Chandler Cinco de Mayo Festival
The Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Historic Downtown Chandler. This is a family event that runs at the downtown Library Plaza in downtown Chandler. Music, dancing, food, vendors. Don't miss the annual Chihuahua Races! Free admission.
In 2014: Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo at La Ristra
Fun for the kids including a Inflatable Waterslide and face painters from 10am to 2pm. For the adults, live bands all day beginning at 1 pm and ending at 11 pm, a Tequila Ice Luge, games, prizes and giveaways. To big tents with bands playing outside. Spin the wheel for prizes, games like Corn Hole. Gilbert.
In 2014: Saturday, May 3 from 10 a.m. to midnight
Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival
This two day family festival with live entertainment including nationally recognized musical performers, local band legends, ballet folklorico, cultural food, family activities. Family-friendly entertainment. $5 - $10 admission. Downtown Phoenix.
In 2014: Saturday, May 3 (2 p.m. to midnight) and Sunday, May 4 (noon to 10 p.m.)
Peoria Cinco de Mayo
A family scavenger hunt, movie, make and take crafts, Wheel of Fortune presented by Benevilla Family Services, live Mariachi performance. The Friends of the Library host a book sale. Snow cones will be sold out front with 20% of the proceeds going to the Friends of the Library. Participants will also be eligible for door prizes such as Pinatas giveaways. Peoria Main Library.
In 2014: Sunday, May 4 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Cinco de Sandbar
This annual bash features live entertainment by both top DJs and local bands. Kicking off Saturday, May 3 and continuing through Monday, May 5, enjoy live music and DJs performing all day out on the stage on the patio. Guests can also watch the epic boxing battle between Mayweather and Maidana on a 9ft x 16ft LED screen on Saturday, May 3 at Sandbar Chandler. Sandbar Mexican Grill has locations in North Phoenix and Chandler.
In 2014: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 3 - 5
Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Enchanted Island at Encanto Park will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with be on hand live entertainment at the park, including a Hispanic band and Ballet Folkloria, candy-filled piñatas for the kids. $7.50 special priced wristbands. Spiderman will be in attendance from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (extra charge for photos).
In 2014: Sunday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cinco de Mayo Vegan Dinner Party Cooking Class
Kim Lahn, Southwest Food Blogger, TV personality on Channel 12's Valley Dish, contributor to Food and Flourish and burgeoning Cookbook Author for this special Vegan, Gluten-Free Cooking Class at Hackett House in Tempe. Her menu features organic, plant based and fresh local ingredients. It may be hot in the Valley of the Sun, but it will be refreshing on the patio with ice-cold cerveza. The price is $50 and includes complimentary beer, wine, door prizes and more.
In 2014: Monday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m.
Party on the Plaza at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Celebrating the spirit of Mexico with pride, colorful décor, flavorful food, music – and for fun, yes, a beer donkey – La Hacienda is spicing things up for Cinco de Mayo. Visit the Cinco de Mayo fiesta marketplace with strolling mariachis, a street-style taco cart, a guacamole sampling station, churros fried to order, twinkling lights, streamers of Mexican flags, piñatas and the plaza fountain lit in red and green. Tequila Goddess Abeer Besharieh will offer tequila sampling in the plaza. Mija, the resort’s beer burro who sports a miniature sombrero, totes a variety of Mexican beer in her satchel and happily poses for photos. In addition to the Cinco de Mayo fiesta marketplace, La Hacienda will serve its regular menu in the restaurant. Admission to the Cinco de Mayo celebration and valet parking are complimentary. Reservations for dinner at La Hacienda recommended.
In 2014: Monday, May 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Page 1: Cinco de Mayo Festivals and Events
Page 2: Bars/Restaurants With Live Entertainment on Cinco de Mayo
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.