By Tony Parra
Jeremy Gutierrez waited in anticipation Saturday morning for the Cinco de Mayo Parade to begin traveling down Second Street.
He was one of many youths and children of drivers who parked their cars along the street to see the event.
First to come were the New Mexico State Police and the Portales Police Department, who led the parade in vehicles with flashing lights.
They were followed by four young men dressed in uniform and carrying the Stars and Stripes and a Mexican flag.
Following them was a firetruck from the Portales Fire Department, then a van bearing the words, “American Legion Post No. 31.”
Next, riding on a trailer, were members of a band — Los Heroes de Nuevo — who played their guitars while a singer belted out songs about the holiday.
A convertible Ford Mustang found its place in the parade, as did the Girl Scouts, who threw candy to children watching from the curbs.
The Roosevelt County Commission represented itself in a Monte Carlo, followed by Big Valley in a truck.
“It was neat,” Gutierrez said after the parade passed by him. “I liked the songs they (the band members) were playing. I play the snare drum and liked seeing them play it.”
Tracy Gutierrez, standing nearby, said she thought it was “pretty good.”
“I brought the kids to see the fire trucks,” she said of her little ones.
After the parade, several cultural affairs committees set up booths inside the Memorial Building and served food. Among them were Eastern New Mexico University’s Association to Help Our Race Advance (AHORA) and African American Affairs.
Terrance Lee, 13, of AAA, said, “We’re selling pickles and candy to raise money (for the organization).”
Rosalind Curtis, also of AAA, said, “Different organizations are here. It’s a CMembers of AHORA served fajitas in the Memorial Building, while AAA served barbeque.
A game of horseshoes was planned as a noon activity at the park, and some people showed up to try a toss at the stake.
Despite the festivities at the park, few people turned out to celebrate early due to the weather.
The low turnout didn’t daunt the participants, however.
“We’re celebrating our heritage,” said Nancy Varelas, AHORA vice president. “We’re helping other people understand by showing them our culture.”