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Rain or Shine: Cinco de Mayo Celebrations Light Up Columbia State Historic Park

One masked adult and two child visitors have their backs to the camera as they contribute to painting a colorful and vivid mural. Centered in the mural is the depiction of the sun, with yellow rays stretching across the blue sky, with human figures in colorful clothing in the foreground working in fields. Around the central image is a dark blue archway outline decorated with flowers and sunshine motifs.
Visitors participate in a community mural at the Cinco de Mayo event in Columbia State Historic Park. Photo by Mike Merritt.

Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, came alive in a vibrant spectacle at Columbia State Historic Park on May 4th and 5th, 2024. Nestled in the heart of California’s Gold Country, this historic park transformed into a hub of cultural festivities, drawing locals and tourists alike to commemorate the rich tapestry of Mexican history and tradition.

Despite the rain, the festivities kicked off on May 4th with the streets colorfully decorated, artists in traditional attire, and lively music filling the air, creating an atmosphere of joy and unity.

Four musicians on a stage playing a variety of instruments including a mandolin, violin, guitar and an accordion. They are dressed in traditional Mexican folk clothing - cropped jackets, brightly-colored scarves, embroidered skirts and pants, and all are wearing wide-brimmed hats with colorful hatbands.
Los Arribenos de San Francisco perform for visitors at the Cinco de Mayo event at Columbia State Historic Park. Photo by PlaceWorks.
Visitors walking through the main corridor of Columbia State Historic Park during the Cinco de Mayo event. Photo by PlaceWorks.

A myriad of activities were available for visitors of all ages. Artisans showcased their craftsmanship, offering handmade goods ranging from pottery to jewelry, providing an opportunity for attendees to take home a piece of Mexican culture. Food vendors tantalized tastebuds with an array of authentic dishes and traditional Mexican cuisine.

One of the highlights of the celebration was the cultural performances. Dancers adorned in vibrant and colorful dress, dazzled audiences with their intricate choreography while mariachi bands serenaded the crowd with soul-stirring melodies. The performances not only entertained but also served as a tribute to the rich artistic heritage of Mexico.

On May 5th, the festivities resumed with renewed energy and excitement. Throughout the two-day celebration, visitors had the opportunity to explore the rich history of Columbia State Historic Park, from the preserved buildings of the Gold Rush era to the exhibits showcasing the contributions of Mexican immigrants to California’s heritage.

Several people, paired up, are dancing in the foreground while two band members are seen in the background. Everyone is wearing bright colors and smiling.
Visitors participate in an interactive dance portion with Los Arribenos de San Francisco band members. Photo by PlaceWorks.