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West Side Cinco de Mayo Festival Making a Comeback

Jake Spitzack, Voice May 2023

The West Side took a hard hit in 2020 when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the neighborhood’s wildly popular Cinco de Mayo festival. At that time, the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, which had organized the celebration since 2009, indicated it would be back, but that never happened under their leadership. Last fall, members of the West Side Boosters Club saw the writing on the wall and began planning to resurrect the event, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Foundation declined to say why it dropped the event.

To the relief of many, the cherished Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will return this year 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at Parque Castillo, 149 Cesar Chavez St. The event will feature bands, a lowrider show, softball tournament, 40 food and vendor booths, and more. Proceeds will go toward youth sports programs sponsored by the Boosters Club.

“It’s exciting to be able to do this and to know it’s run by the community,” said club president Bob Cruz. “We’ve had a lot of people reach out to do this…. A lot of vendors are people who grew up in this community. We’re giving them an opportunity to thrive, and giving the community a chance to come out and have a good, safe time.”

Music will be presented all day. The line-up is: Kalpuli Huitzillin, 10 a.m.; REGAL and Camila 11 a.m.; Los Alegres Bailadores, noon; Mariachi Lucero 1 p.m.; Chico Chávez Orchestra 2 p.m.; Shayla Carbajal, 3 p.m.; Tequila 2023, 4 p.m. Several food trucks will be on site throughout the day. Bags and balls will fly at 10 a.m. when the first round of the adult softball and cornhole tournaments kick off.

A lowrider show featuring 30-40 vehicles also kicks off at 10 a.m. Some of the vehicles will participate in a hydraulic bounce competition. Awards will be given in several categories.

Portions of State Street and South Clinton Avenue will be closed off for the event and St. Paul police officers will provide security. Local restaurants will also host specials and entertainment throughout the weekend.

“Please come out and celebrate with our community,” said Cruz. “Now it’s [the event] not so big. We’re trying to bring it back to the West Side. Come celebrate our culture.” He said the Boosters will organize the event again next year if they can get enough sponsors. As of press time they had 18 sponsors this year.

The community is pretty psyched about getting it back,” said West Sider Debby Luna, who has helped organize events for the fiesta in the past. “Hopefully each year we’ll get a little bigger. A parade is probably going to be the first thing they [the Club] will shoot for having next year. Not to the caliber it was, but some kind of little parade… If a lot of people want it to happen, then hopefully more people will jump on board to help make it happen.”

Westside Boosters

Youth Atheletlic club

The Westside Booster Club, a non-profit organization (501c3), has been established to provide athletic opportunities for young people regardless of their ability or financial status. Our mission is to develop and administer programs which encourage the athletic development of our participants.

West Side Boosters is a youth sports organization with strong community ties and engrained traditions in St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood. Our mission is to provide leadership and engagement through our sports leagues, camps, and programming for boys and girls ages 4-18. We do not turn anyone away for their inability to pay.

We are an all-volunteer group that works to instill core values and principled work ethics in our youth. This has been a focus that has spanned the last 50+ years. 

Our young athletes learn that they can compete in any venue, on or off the field through the leadership of our coaches, parents, families, and community members. We believe these lessons will carry with our youth long after WSB sports. 

45 years of Westside Boosters providing opportunities for youth

Youth Atheletlic club

The Westside Booster Club was founded in 1970. However, its origins can be traced back into the early 1940’s through an organization called the Neighborhood House.

Combined efforts of Harry Gaston, considered to be the father of Westside Athletics and Neighborhood House, provided enriching opportunities for St. Paul’s Westside boys and girls. These opportunities included quality structures in the fundamentals of athletics as well as the fundamentals of life. An environment with emphasis on mental and physical toughness, teamwork and integrity was established through football, basketball and baseball programs.

Coach Gaston instilled in his players one of the most valuable, prosperous and honorable set of guidelines to live by, you must give back what you have been given. Today’s coaches are yesterday’s players. Today’s players will undoubtedly be the coaches of tomorrow. This solid foundation of core values that has been passed down through the generations is what we continue to build on today.

Contact our team

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