Showing unity in the name of a beloved festival.
For the eighth year, Sunset Park played host to its annual Cinco de Mayo Mother’s Day Festival on Sunday, May 14.
Although there was a bit of rain later in the afternoon, nothing could stop the hundreds of attendees from showing their pride, dancing, eating, shopping and unifying as a community.
“I’m usually my number one critic but I’m really happy with the results,” said Edgar Alvarez, the event’s organizer. “The community responded at a local level and it was very well attended. We had lots of international talent so it was a very successful day.”
The parade started at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue and made its way to the park where performances and activities took place.
According to Alvarez, people coming together make this festival stand out from the rest. “It was all about unity,” he explained. “We have Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians that came in support of Cinco de Mayo to support our Mexican brothers and sisters. It was a celebration of that holiday as well as Mother’s Day so everyone came through. You saw Puerto Rican flags in unison with Mexican flags. It was a nice mix.”
The Deputy Mayor of Passaic, New Jersey Cesar Aguirre was the grand marshal of the parade.
“We had the representative, the governor of the state of Puebla here,” added Alvarez. “We had the internationally known Pedro Rivera, the father of the late Jenni Rivera, as the Godfather.”
Jenni was a singer, songwriter, actress and television producer, who died in a plane crash in December, 2012.
At the park, performances included Leales de Guatemala and Ximena Roca.
“The festival brings talent for free for a lot of people that can’t afford to go to a concert,” he said. “I can’t point to one highlight because I think it was all the key ingredients that made it a good event. It was the music and the people that attended. It doesn’t matter how much good music you have, if you don’t have the people from the neighborhood from three generations, toddlers to senior citizens.”
The event is always made special by the fact that it’s held on Mother’s Day. “We never want to take away from Cinco de Mayo as it is a holiday that is so high profile. But regardless of what country you come from, you can identify with Mother’s Day, especially in an immigrant community. Some people haven’t seen their mothers in 10, 15 years. This is just a way for them to come in and celebrate with all the families as one.”
This is the second straight year that the festival has been held in Sunset’s namesake park. “It’s a very key location because it bears the name of the community and it’s the home to one of the largest Mexican community in New York. Not only that, we weren’t able to do events there for so many years and now that we’re able to deliver quality family-oriented events. That’s the one place where the whole community becomes one regardless of race or financial status.”
The Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) co-sponsored the event. Fiesta VIP Entertainment and the Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day Parade and Festival Committee produced it.