Fun photos of Cinco de Mayo in Old Town!

This afternoon I strolled through Old Town and captured photos of the big 10th Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. I began in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, headed south along San Diego Avenue, then turned to make my way back to the State Park.

According to a Park Ranger, Cinco de Mayo is by far the most popular event in Old Town San Diego. I saw many families strolling about enjoying the colorful sights, Mexican food and cultural entertainment.

There was a folklorico competition and lucha libre demonstrations (which I missed), giant puppets, Aztec dancers, kids’ crafts, mariachi music, and authentic Mexican food at every turn. There were many people in traditional Mexican dress and others in period costume from the early days of San Diego. I enjoyed checking out a bunch of sweet lowrider cars and a row of shiny, customized kids’ bikes that were definitely super cool. I paused to visit the donkeys near Seeley Stable, guys hammering red hot iron in the blacksmith shop, a silly street performer with a plunger on his head, and a gentleman in La Casa de Estudillo who was playing frontier games of chance against all comers. As I walked about I even spotted some chalk art.

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to turn next!

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Photos of Cinco de Mayo in Balboa Park!

Talented floreador Miguel Bautista performs rope tricks in Balboa Park during Cinco de Mayo!
Talented floreador Miguel Bautista performs rope tricks in Balboa Park during Cinco de Mayo!

Today was the first time I’ve gone to a big, festive Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park. What fun!

In the early afternoon I wandered down El Prado to absorb the general flavor of the event, but I spent most of my time watching cultural performances in the Plaza de Panama. The day’s highlight in my opinion was the noontime equestrian parade and rope handling entertainment.

I’ve included some fascinating info in my photo captions!

The festive 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park was the scene of great pageantry and life today!
The festive 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park was the scene of great pageantry and life today!
Many traditional Mexican costumes, crafts and entertaining activities filled the Plaza de Panama.
Many traditional Mexican costumes, crafts and entertaining activities filled the Plaza de Panama.
Ballet folklorico dancers with the community group La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego entertain a crowd in Balboa Park during Cinco de Mayo.
Ballet folklorico dancers with the community group La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego entertain a crowd in Balboa Park during Cinco de Mayo.
Buoyant traditional Mexican music is provided by City Heights Mariachi, an ensemble that welcomes all ages. They are actively seeking trumpet players!
Buoyant traditional Mexican music is provided by City Heights Mariachi, an ensemble that welcomes all ages. They are actively seeking trumpet players!
Many people in diverse and colorful garb were in the audience.
Many people in diverse and colorful garb were in the audience.
The noon Equestrian Procession is entering the Plaza de Panama! The group is called Escaramuza Charra las Golondrinas.
The noon Equestrian Procession is entering the Plaza de Panama! The group is called Escaramuza Charra las Golondrinas.
Riders on horseback wear various traditional costumes. The caballero with the American flag is in the gala dress of a charro.
Riders on horseback wear various traditional costumes. The caballero carrying the American flag is in the gala dress of a charro.
Circling in the Plaza de Panama so that all can enjoy.
Circling in the Plaza de Panama so that all can enjoy.
The equestrian group's floreador performs elaborate rope tricks for the crowd.
The equestrian group’s floreador performs elaborate rope tricks for the crowd.
Great agility and showmanship on display.
Great agility and showmanship on display.
Performing more amazing rope tricks up on the back of his horse!
Performing more amazing rope tricks up on the back of his horse!
This cool lowrider was on display. It's a 1958 Chevy Del Ray Sedan Delivery painted with cool flames!
This cool lowrider was out in the plaza. It’s a 1958 Chevy Del Ray Sedan Delivery painted with flames!
Several Balboa Park museums and organizations had tables in the plaza where kids could create Cinco de Mayo-themed artwork.
Several Balboa Park museums and organizations had tables in the plaza where kids could create Cinco de Mayo-themed artwork.
Many food trucks were lining El Prado!
Many food trucks were lining El Prado!
When not on the main stage, City Heights Mariachi did some more entertaining along El Prado.
When not on the main stage, City Heights Mariachi did some more entertaining along El Prado.
At one o'clock there was a Traditional Dress Showcase with models wearing regional attire from different Mexican states.
At one o’clock there was a Traditional Dress Showcase with models wearing regional attire from different Mexican states.
The various traditional Mexican dresses were from the Olga de la Vega private collection.
The various traditional Mexican dresses were from the Olga de la Vega private collection.
I believe this was said to be a dress from the Michoacán region. The shawl is an important aspect of the attire--it is used to send social signals.
I believe this was said to be a dress from the Michoacán region. The shawl is an important aspect of the attire–it is used to send social signals.
Dress from the Mexican state of Guerrero, if my notes are correct. Images in the fabric include flowers and jaguars.
Dress from the Mexican state of Guerrero, if my notes are correct. Images in the fabric include flowers and jaguars.
Color and pageantry filled the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park!
Abundant color and pageantry filled the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Legendary Mariachi Leader Oscar Amezcua in Balboa Park!

Legendary musician Oscar Amezcua performs on stage with his sons during a Cinco de Mayo concert in Balboa Park.
Legendary musician Oscar Amezcua performs on stage with his sons during a Cinco de Mayo concert in Balboa Park.

What a treat! This evening I got to listen to legendary Mariachi Leader Oscar Amezcua perform in a special Cinco de Mayo concert in Balboa Park!

Along with stirring performances by the City Heights Music School Mariachi Ensemble, Jarabe Mexicano and the really outstanding SDSU Jazz Ensemble, Oscar Amezcua wowed the crowd with his passionate voice and irrepressible personality! Two standing ovations were well-earned!

The 87-year-old musical legend has performed for American presidents, dignitaries and countless adoring fans. It’s no mystery why he is loved by so many. Life sparkles in his eyes. His timeless voice comes directly from the heart.

A free concert in Balboa Park at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on Cinco de Mayo featured beloved, world-famous Mariachi Leader Don Oscar Amezcua.
A free concert in Balboa Park at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on Cinco de Mayo featured beloved, world-famous Mariachi Leader Don Oscar Amezcua.
Donation box for the Kiwanis Club of San Diego, who along with the SDSU School of Music and Dance presented the special Cinco de Mayo Concert in the Park. Kiwanis has provided many scholarships for SDSU students.
Donation box for the Kiwanis Club of San Diego, who along with the SDSU School of Music and Dance presented the special Cinco de Mayo Concert in the Park. Over the years Kiwanis has provided many generous scholarships for SDSU students.
Event emcee Carlos Amezcua, son of Oscar Amezcua, and his KUSI Good Morning San Diego co-host Lisa Remillard get the program started with a few words.
Event emcee Carlos Amezcua, son of Oscar Amezcua, and his KUSI Good Morning San Diego co-host Lisa Remillard get the program started with a few words.
Kevin Lomes sings Granada, with a powerful voice that deeply moved the audience.
Kevin Lomes sings Granada with a powerful voice that deeply moved the audience.
Art Stillwell of the San Diego Kiwanis Club remembers benefactor Bill Gibbs by ringing a Tibetan singing bowl.
Art Stillwell of the San Diego Kiwanis Club remembers benefactor Bill Gibbs by ringing a Tibetan singing bowl.
The City Heights Music School Mariachi Ensemble plays for the large crowd.
The City Heights Music School Mariachi Ensemble plays for the large crowd.
Oscar Amezcua comes onto the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion, introduced by his popular journalist son Carlos.
Oscar Amezcua comes onto the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion, introduced by his popular journalist son Carlos.
Legendary Mariachi Leader Oscar Amezcua was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He immigrated to San Diego in 1945 and proceeded to make musical history.
Legendary Mariachi Leader Oscar Amezcua was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He immigrated to San Diego in 1945 and proceeded to make music history.
The ageless Oscar Amezcua sings. The mariachi music full of vigor and joy.
The ageless Oscar Amezcua sings. Mariachi music is full of vigor, passion and joy.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer presents a plaque. May 5, 2017 is officially Oscar Amezcua Day.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer presents a plaque. May 5, 2017 is officially Oscar Amezcua Day.
Oscar, his three sons and daughter perform together while his wife watched from the audience. I saw some tears. A moment in history.
Oscar, his three sons and daughter on stage together. I saw some tears. A moment in history.
People can't help dancing.
People can’t help dancing.
Love of life. Pure and simple.
Love of life. Pure and simple.

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Photos of Old Town’s folklorico dance competition!

Ladies in Mexican folk costume gather in front of Old Town's Robinson-Rose House.
Ladies in Mexican folk costume gather in front of Old Town’s Robinson-Rose House.

I didn’t catch the names of the dance groups competing today. But I did get some fun photos! The sixth annual Fiesta de Reyes Folklórico Competition in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park was full of energy and color. In past years, the State Park has also been crowded with vendors during the Cinco de Mayo weekend. But not this year. All the commercial vendors were outside the park, along San Diego Avenue, and I believe this was a great idea. The center of historic Old Town is a representation of what life was like in San Diego in the 1800s. Its emphasis today on the authentic baile folklórico competition, which attracted talented troupes from throughout California, and a whole lot of spectators, seemed just right!

How good was the dancing? The participants were motivated to go full tilt with a first place prize of one thousand dollars! The dancers were evaluated by several renowned Mexican judges. It was fantastic!

Performers in the Cinco de Mayo weekend Folklorico Competition walk toward the Fiesta de Reyes stage area.
Performers in the Cinco de Mayo weekend Folklorico Competition walk toward the Fiesta de Reyes stage area.
A competing dance troupe wearing colorful costumes waits at the edge of Old Town's historic plaza.
A dance troupe wearing colorful costumes waits at the edge of Old Town’s grassy central plaza.
Traditional Mexican folklorico dancers have checked in for the big San Diego event!
Traditional Mexican folklorico dancers have checked in for the cool San Diego event!
A huge crowd watches as the super energetic dance contest is already underway.
A huge crowd watches as the super energetic dance contest is already underway.
With flowers in their hair, bright dresses and broad smiles, these dancers bring cheers and whoops from the crowd.
With flowers in their hair, bright dresses and broad smiles, these dancers bring cheers and whoops from the crowd.
Dances and costumes from different parts of Mexico can be quite unique.
Dances and costumes from different parts of Mexico can be quite unique.
These guys are full of stomp and vigor and so is the crowd!
These stomping guys are full of vigor and so is the crowd!
Long colored ribbons stream from very odd costumes. The headpieces appear to be religious icons or altars.
Long colored ribbons stream from very odd costumes. The headpieces appear to be religious icons or altars.
Sacred images of Christ crown these dancers' heads. I believe I heard this peculiar tradition originated in Jalisco, but I might be wrong.
Sacred images of Christ crown these dancers’ heads. I believe I heard this peculiar tradition originated in Jalisco, but I might be wrong.
Frilly, flouncy dresses were seen throughout Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Frilly, flouncy dresses were seen throughout Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Traditional Mexican folk dancers in long flowing skirts dazzle the big crowd.
Traditional Mexican folk dancers in long flowing skirts dazzle the cheering crowd.
Another sensational performance!
Another sensational performance!
These were the first place winners!
These were the first place winners!

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Cinco de Mayo fun in San Diego’s Old Town.

Lots of folks enjoying Cinco de Mayo in Old Town.
Lots of folks enjoying Cinco de Mayo weekend in Old Town.

Late this morning I took a long leisurely walk through San Diego’s Old Town, just to check out this weekend’s Cinco de Mayo festivities. Thousands of people had arrived already, and the crowd was rapidly growing!

People were excited to watch dancers and musicians performing on several stages. They enjoyed gobs of Mexican food, the Cantina Garden, a fun petting zoo, lots of very cool lowriders, and endless booths selling Mexican crafts and wares.

Mariachis play for huge crowd in Old Town's plaza.
Mariachis play for huge crowd in Old Town’s central plaza.
Posing in traditional Mexican garb at Cinco de Mayo.
Posing  for a fun Cinco de Mayo photo.
Colorful Mexican ornaments and gifts seemed to be everywhere.
Colorful Mexican ornaments and gifts seemed to be everywhere.
This barbeque smelled really good to the passing crowd.
This barbeque smelled really good to the passing crowd.
Curled mustache and prickly pear lemonade!
Curled mustache and old-fashioned prickly pear lemonade!
Fiesta de Reyes even more festive for Cinco de Mayo.
Fiesta de Reyes was more festive than usual for Cinco de Mayo.
One Mexican folk dancer watches another on stage.
One Mexican folk dancer watches another perform on stage.
Bright dress worn by lady walking behind Seeley Stable.
Bright yellow festival dress worn by lady walking behind Seeley Stable.
A petting zoo was set up in Old Town for the kids.
A petting zoo was set up in Old Town for the kids.
Dramatic end of long line of hydraulic lowriders.
There were dozens of amazing hydraulic lowriders.

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