Thousands gather for Cinco de Mayo parade in St. Paul

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The Mexican celebration Cinco de Mayo brought many cultures together in St. Paul Saturday. 

Thousands flocked to the annual Cinco de Mayo festival in a neighborhood just south of downtown. 

“Just like on St. Patrick’s Day everybody is Irish, on Cinco de Mayo everyone is Mexican,” said Debbie Luna, who attended Cinco de Mayo festivities. 

“What’s exciting about a day like this is people get to experience some other cultures,” said attendee Donald Luna.

The event boasts a wide range of food and entertainment, and serves as a reminder of the past. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army defeated France in the Battle of Puebla. 

“It’s wonderful to be able to come out and celebrate and see the beautiful side and show people what the culture really is,” said Katie Avina. 

During a time when President Donald Trump’s immigration policies stoke fears of deportation, for many the parade in St. Paul is a representation of unity and resilience. 

Avina said it’s a way to celebrate and teach people about their culture. It also allows them to show how Latinos impact Minnesota—from the culture to the economy. 

“We as people have to continue to live our lives and show that we are productive and we do contribute to this society and hopefully in a few years things will change as they should be,” Donald Luna said. 

An estimated 80,000 people attended the Cinco de Mayo festivities in St. Paul.