Annual Cinco de Mayo festival brings together kids, food and music.
– Story and photos by Liz Monroy.
With smoky hints of chili and pork wafting in the air and Bachata music blaring loudly, shop owners lined Fourth Street in Santa Ana catering to about 300,000 visitors May 4 and 5 during the 14th annual Cinco de Mayo festival.
The event featured Mexican fare, traditional cultural items, local music and a carnival.
Kids and adults laughed and screamed while riding more than a dozen attractions, ranging from a gently revolving carousel to a high-speed zipper propelling a carriage through the air as it twists and turns.
Cindy Ortega, who opened the performance Saturday afternoon, belted out a rendition of Amor a la Mexicana, detailing Mexican-style lovemaking that left non-Spanish speakers in the dark.
On the softer side, Mark Wisniewski huddled in a street corner, huffing Nearer My God to Thee into a zampoña, a traditional Salvadorian instrument he discovered after traveling throughout Central America.
Wisniewski adapts Christian hymns on the instrument.
Next door, Roberto Gomez sold sombreros, a business he started more than 50 years ago.
“I came downtown to get a job after I got out of the Navy,” said Gomez, “and I never left.”