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Vendors look to economic boost as Cinco De Mayo festival returns to full capacity

The festival has expanded this year to Q street.
Posted at 10:48 AM, May 07, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Thursday may have been the actual holiday of Cinco de Mayo, but South Omaha was waiting for the weekend to kick off celebrations.

Every year, the community holds a celebration for the Mexican heritage holiday that commemorates the anniversary of Mexico's victory over French forces long ago. In South Omaha, vendors were setting up for the weekend-long carnival after two years of not being able to celebrate in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers say they're excited to be back to full capacity.

"The businesses are really excited because the economic impact from COVID. Everyone was really devastated. 2020 was of course really bad for everyone. 2021 we were at 75 percent capacity so this year we’re at 100 percent," said Marcos Mora, Executive Director of Cinco De Mayo Omaha.

Vendors say the past two years were uneasy and uncertain for them.

"We’re so excited it’s even bigger than it usually is so we brought it more crews," said Perla, whose family runs multiple tents at the festival. "This is our biggest sale of the year we also hire a lot of family and friends so we get to help them out a little bit."

The festival is one of the biggest Cinco De Mayo celebrations in the country and attracts hundreds of thousands every year. Even some from surrounding states. Organizers say it showcases the diversity and all that South Omaha has to offer.

"What it’s always done is embrace culture and diversity this is a wonderful opportunity that we’re just sharing culture and there’s food and family and it’s very inviting," said Mora.

For South Omaha natives and vendors, it's a way to share home with the Omaha community and the midwest.

"It reminds us where my family came from. It brings a little bit of Mexico here so it makes us really happy because we get to share a little bit of what our drinks are like and the seasonings we like to use and people enjoy it," said Perla.

This year, the event has actually expanded to Q street. It now takes over 9 blocks in South Omaha. The expansion allows more vendors and ultimately more money to be poured back into South Omaha.

The festival is hosting events all weekend long, including Saturday's festival kicking off at 10 a.m. For more information and a list of all events, visit cdmomaha.com

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