No, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That's September 16. Cinco de Mayo marks the defeat of the French army by Mexican forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday is actually more popular in the U.S. than in Mexico. In these parts, May 5 is cause for celebrating Mexican and Mexican-American culture in all its forms. It's also cause for plenty of tequila — and lucky for all the revelers, this year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday. But this holiday isn't just about margaritas — there's also some family-friendly events happening around town.
Thursday, May 3
Dos Equis Feast of the Brave
Dos Equis has decided to test Houstonian palates with its special Cinco de Mayo event. The company has teamed up with locals H-Town StrEATS, Chef Jason Hill and Chef Matt Opaleski to serve free tacos with unusual ingredients to the city's inhabitants. From fried pig ear, chicken gizzard and armadillo to grilled shark, fried alligator, hog stomach and thousand-year-old egg fritters, each esophagus-chilling taco comes with "bravery points" as part of a national competition to see which U.S. city has the bravest palate. The event will be run out of a taco truck, so visit the Twitter page to find out when the truck is in your neighborhood, now through May 5 (it started April 25). The trucks will serve only one taco per person.
Friday, May 4
Fiesta Universal in The Woodlands
31 Waterway Square, 281-397-2244
Head to The Woodlands to celebrate Latin culture at the Fiesta Universal. The event is free and will include food, music and entertainment in a family-friendly environment. Live entertainment comes courtesy of Mango Punch from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
7500 Bellaire, 713-777-1111
The Case of Joe Campos Torres, a documentary film, will screen in the Community Room of PlazaAmericas. There will be a social at 6:30 p.m. before the film starts at 7. The documentary is about one of the most infamous cases of police misconduct in Houston history, chronicling the event and subsequent community-protest meetings, community/police department negotiations, and the legal actions taken by the Torres family against the Houston Police Department and the City of Houston. This screening includes additional footage and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the award-winning maker of the film, Carlos Calbillo. This event is free and open to the public.
Talento Bilingüe de Houston
333 S. Jensen, 713-222-1213
Talento Bilingüe de Houston hosts a Cinco de Mayo celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. The event honors Dr. Luis Malpica y de Lamadrid, Honorable General Cónsul de Mexico in Houston, and the 150th Anniversary of the Batalla de Puebla. The event will feature a performance by Mariachi MECA from 6 to 7 p.m., a performance by Folklórica Alegría Mexicana, and a special 15-minute skit about the Battle of Puebla performed by TBH's ExpressArte students. Chef Polo of Post Oak Grill, Las Flautas, and Dulce Bakery will provide food. $50.
Saturday, May 5
3245 Southwest Fwy., 713-665-2900
100% will have Cinco De Mayo specials all day, including $5 chela-ritas, $4 frozen lime margaritas and $3 beers.
2207 Richmond, 713-526-1702
Azteca's is getting into the spirit with happy hour from 11 to 8 p.m., along with live music and karaoke.
Berryhill Baja Grill
1717 Post Oak Blvd., 713-871-8226
At 2 p.m., Berryhill kicks off its aptly named Cinco Drinko parking lot party. There'll be an outdoor concert featuring the Tontons and Poor Pilate. The menu will be a limited version, offering fish tacos, tamales, street tacos and bar bites as well as $3 frozen margaritas and $2 Modelo Especial. There'll also be a sneak peak at Buffalo Bayou's new summer brew. The evening comes to a close at 8 p.m.
Bodegas Taco Shop
1200 Binz #160, 713-528-6102
Bodegas' annual street festival is back with authentic street tacos, drink specials, traditional Spanish dancing, and piñata breaking. There's a moonwalk for the kids, while adults will enjoy the live DJ from 1 to 5 p.m., the live rock music from 6 to 9 p.m. and the mariachi band from 9 to 10 p.m. Tequila will be served throughout the night.
BOX 13 ArtSpace
6700 Harrisburg, 713-533-8692
The Empty Box Ole!, BOX 13's annual fundraiser, kicks off at 7 p.m. for a night of entertainment, art and plenty of refreshments. Visitors will enjoy Conjunto and Tejano music while partaking of margaritas, beer and Mexican food. The event will feature a silent auction with art from local contributors, the Poor Man's raffle (for $5, you can throw your name in the hat for a prime work of art by a BOX13 artist), $1-a-swing piñatas and the infamous Mystery Box, which lets anyone with $25 to spare walk away with art. The evening's activities conclude at 9:30 p.m.
1802 Shepherd, 713-862-2020
For its south-of-the-border bash, the Cadillac Bar invites customers to enjoy live entertainment from a DJ, specials on margaritas and buckets of beer, and its Outside Beer Party Car with tap beer specials all night long. The festivities run from 6 p.m. to midnight and will include appetizers and special giveaways.
The Cinco De Derby Block Party
OTC Patio Bar, 3212 Kirby, 713-489-0860
Hendricks Pub, 3320 Kirby, 713-522-1500,
Celebrate Cinco De Mayo at The Cinco De Derby Block Party, which will feature a live band, multiple DJs, a dunk tank and a jalapeño-eating contest. For refreshments, there will be a food court and drink and shot specials for the duration of the party. Tickets are available presale for $5, and day-of admission is $10. The festivities begin at 10 a.m.
1500 McKinney, 713-400-7336
The 3rd Annual Disco Green Electronic Music Festival returns to Discovery Green, from noon to 10 p.m, this time with a Cinco De Mayo flair. The artists who will be in attendance include Kenny Dope Gonzalez, who fuses house, hip-hop, Latin, jazz, soul and broken beats to get his sound, and La Orquesta Salmerum, an 11-piece band that will perform salsa, merengue, bachata, cha-cha, mambo and cumbia.
East End Street Fest
4500 Block of Harrisburg, 713-928-9916
A new Cinco de Mayo event has been added to the lineup this year with the daylong East End Street Fest. Dedicated to showcasing the cultural richness of the area, the event promises a diverse roster of performers, from hip-hop dancers to the band Los Pistoleros de Tejas to salsa great Norma Zenteno. While celebrating the special day, the festival is also intended to show off the recent beautification of the Greater East End District, including the construction of a new Metro rail line. The day's entertainment will include everything from food competitions in which taco trucks duke it out to receive the title of Houston's Best Taco, to dance troupe performances courtesy of FrenetiCore Dance and the Hip Hop Dance Troupe. The event is free, and will run from noon until 8 p.m.
El Pueblito Patio
1423 Richmond, 713-520-6635
www.elpueblitopatio.com El Pueblito marks the day with its Cinco de Mango party, featuring performances by Walter Suhr and Mango Punch!
El Gran Malo
2307 Ella Blvd., 832-767-3405
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a live DJ, a mariachi band, tents, prizes and liquid-nitrogen-frozen margaritas, all at El Gran Malo. Karbach Brewing Co. will be pouring beer, and street tacos will be served outside with chili and garlic-marinated carne asada, grilled onions, peppers and lime, in addition to the full menu. Tents with alcoholic snow-cones, tequila-soaked frozen fruit and champagne cocktails will also be on hand. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
1600 Westheimer, 713-524-7744
Hugo's will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with its classic Mexican Fiesta brunch buffet. The brunch takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $27 per person. The event will include Mexican folk dancing and music by Viento. Drinks featuring Tres Generaciones and Hornitos Tequilas will be available at special prices, and guests will be able to take home a special margarita recipe courtesy of the restaurant's sommelier.
1018 Fairview 713-521-0963
La Mexicana in Montrose is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a big Cinco de Mayo bash. There will be three happy hours throughout the day. In the morning, it's $3 mimosas, $4 margaritas and $5 Bloody Marys from 7 to 9 a.m. At lunch, it's mariachis, a balloon twister for the kids and raspas from noon to 2 p.m. Later that day, La Mex hosts its final happy hour of the day from 4 to 8 p.m. with $2 cans of Tecate, $3 short tequila shots, $4 margaritas, $8 jumbo margaritas and plenty of food specials: $7.95 Messy Nachos (a huge pile of chips, meat, cheese, charro beans), $5 mini tacos and a pound of fajitas for $17.95.
2200 Southwest Fwy., 713-528-6399
Celebrate the day by enjoying a pay-per-view boxing match featuring Mayweather versus Cotto and by helping yourself to $14 pitchers of Dos Equis or $20 buckets of Tecate. Then, after the fights, join in for a few rounds of karaoke.
501 Crawford St., 713-259-8000
The Houston Astros would like to invite everyone to the 2012 Cinco de Mayo Festival at Minute Maid Park during the Astros vs. Cardinals game, starting at 6:05 p.m. The festival features traditional Latin foods and beverages, games and activities. The players will be wearing their Los Astros jerseys for the evening's game, and the first 10,000 fans will receive a Los Astros cap. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., and tickets for the game start at $5 for adults and $1 for kids.
4400 North Fwy., 713-692-6131
This shopping area will be offering free family-friendly festivities for the third year in a row. Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event features more than 50 exhibitors, including live entertainment from Mango Punch and Latin DJ Jumpin Jess. Later, kids will be able to play games with the Radio Disney Road Crew.
3939 San Felipe, 713-528-2264
Ouisie's Table will be offering a Cinco de Mayo Breakfast menu starting at 8 a.m. Choose from more than a dozen Mexican breakfast items such as Chorizo with Eggs (hot or spicy), Huevos Rancheros, Huevos & Ham, Migas and Nopales en Salsa Roja with Eggs and more.
707 Texas 146, Kemah, 281-334-2133
T-Bone Tom's will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a live musical performance by What Is Hip beginning at 7 p.m.
Tacos Del Julio
5887 Westheimer, 713-781-3377
Tacos Del Julio will be throwing its Gran Fiesta De 5 Mayo Party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. The party will feature front-screen seats for the pay-per-view Cotto versus Mayweather Fight.
Taps House of Beer
5120 Washington, 713-426-1105
Taps will be celebrating with the help of a dunk tank, a live performance by Funky Riot, a jalapeño-eating contest, a Texas Schlong Tourney and Pin the Tail on the Donkey. There will also be drink specials and Jello shots all day long. Doors open at 10 a.m.
Tila's Restaurante and Bar
1111 S. Shepherd, 713-522-7654
From 11 a.m. to midnight, Tila's is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with music, Mexican cuisine, margaritas and plenty of beer.
Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6
Rails and Tails Mudbug Festival at the Depot
201 S. Elm St., 281-351-5484, www.ci.tomball.tx.us
Tomball is putting on a free two-day festival with performances from Fab 5, Bayou Roux and Louisiana's Joel Martin on Saturday and Waylon Thibodeaux, Bayou Roux and the Grateful Geezers on Sunday. There will be a special area for the kids and tons of crawfish and boudin. The event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. both days. Parking is free.
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