When one thinks about Cinco de Mayo celebrations around the world, Puebla, Mexico, or Mexico as a whole, most likely comes to mind. Depending upon where you live, certain pockets of the U.S. west and southwest may also register. After my weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte is now on that list.
Charlotte is a party city. I wasn’t ready. I knew Charlotte was a college town, but I truly wasn’t ready for the large masses of revelers, young to middle aged, every shade of human being, suburban to urban who hit the streets of downtown Charlotte to party. Cinco de Mayo in Charlotte was a big deal.
I love any excuse to load up on Mexican food and margaritas. Mexican is hands down my favorite ethnic food variety and don’t even get me started about the many virtues of margaritas (on the rocks please w/ salt). I share this affinity it seems with the city of Charlotte.
My first stop was the Cinco de Mayo Salsa-thon in the S. Tryon street parking lot. With the feel of an enormous block party, there were mariachi bands, vendors, prizes and giveaways, DJs and of course the draw of the event, the salsa-thon set to the beat of live music.
No, I didn’t sign-up for the Salsa-thon, but I did watch as others stepped and swayed with fury and glory. I didn’t make it until the end, to see who won, because I was determined to head to Epi Cinco 2012 at the pavilion at the Epi Center, the city’s second major event of the day.
I arrived just in time to catch the famed Chihuahua race where local Chihuahuas decked out in their finest Mexican garb raced each other along a ten-foot stretch of AstroTurf. The Epi-center event was packed. Host also to an enormous beer crawl, which was already underway as well as a Cinco de Mayo dance party, the crowd by three p.m., was rowdy and staggering. Luckily for everyone, authentic Mexican taco stands dotted the square to curb drunken stomachs. People partied into the wee hours of the morning. As I said before, I wasn’t ready.
Charlotte, plus Cinco de Mayo, who knew?