WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Cinco de Mayo is a holiday full of music, food and drinks, but the holiday itself has a history that runs deep and is a day that Arely Zavala said serves as a time to celebrate Mexican culture and pride.

“Growing up, I always thought it was our independence day, but I later learned that was in September, and I got with my father and actually found out that this has to do with the French war,” Wichita Falls resident Arely Zavala said.

The holiday commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla 160 years ago, and Zavala said this holiday is a way for them to recognize how far they’ve come as a people. The Zavala Hispanic Cultural Initiative held their annual celebration in downtown Wichita Falls Thursday night.

“We’re the third generation now in our family, and so we have the great grandkids and the grandchildren, and so it’s pretty much teaching them right – teaching that culture to them,” Zavala said.

Everyone could enjoy some great food, live entertainment and dancing at the celebration, all things that made for a really good time.

“I like how they have a lot of the Mexican clothing and hats and stuff like that,” attendee Mikaila Billinger said. “It’s probably my favorite part seeing that stuff that comes from Mexico and people sell out here.”

“It’s the food, the tacos, the drinks, the music – I just love it all and the piñatas,” Zavala said.

Folks like Mikaila Billinger say a celebration like this right here in downtown Wichita Falls gives everyone a chance to immerse themselves into Mexican culture.

“There’s artist that are here showcasing Mexican culture through their art, and so it’s always nice to come out on a cultural holiday,” Billinger said.

The Cinco De Mayo celebration is one many hope to see get bigger each year.

“Hopefully Wichita Falls can keep bringing more events out here, so we can enjoy all the different parts of downtown Wichita Falls,” Billinger said.

2022’s Cinco de Mayo was a fun time for the community to come together and celebrate.

For more information on the local Zavala Hispanic Cultural Initiative, click here.