Cinco de Mayo set for May 6 at Gutierrez Park

HARLINGEN — The city’s Cinco de Mayo celebration this year will be held in the La Placita district on Saturday, May 6.

Cinco de Mayo, or Fifth of May, celebrates the military anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when the Mexican army led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French troops of Napoleon III in a battle southeast of Mexico City.

Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexican Independence Day, which instead is celebrated on Sept. 16.

The Puebla battle was a key symbolic victory in which 4,000 Mexican troops defeated 8,000 better-equipped French troops. Five years later, French troops were eventually expelled from Mexican soil.

Zaragoza was born in Goliad, Texas, in 1829.

“It is important that our Mexican heritage not be forgotten,” said Connie Salas, organizer of the Cinco de Mayo event. “This event is held as a celebration of our heritage.”

Performers at the event will include Mariachi “Rey Azteca,” Folkloric Dancers — Grupo Renacimiento, Conjunto Jarroches del Valley, Brownsville Orchestra and Arts Academy, Ballet Folklorico de Matamoros and Daniel Mercado.

WHAT: Harlingen Cinco de Mayo 2017

WHERE: Lt. George Gutierrez Jr. Park, 500 W. Harrison Ave.

WHEN: May 6, 4 – 6:30 p.m.

WHO: City of Harlingen, City of Matamoros, Mexican consulate