Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce staff and members of PLAN (Pueblo Latino Apoyando a los Nuestros), including organizer Esmeralda Haddad, are “excited” about offering the community a Cinco De Mayo celebration this year.

“We’re not doing this all by ourselves,” Haddad said. “We went to the city to tell them what we wanted to do, and they got really excited.”

Haddad said she feels having the celebration downtown will help promote Jacksonville and help bring community members together.

“This is for everybody, and we will have live music all day,” Haddad said.

A Mariachi band from Dallas and a Flamenco dancer from Mexico will be included in the afternoon festivities. There will also be food, arts and crafts vendors, and a “Kiddy Korner” with piñatas and other children’s entertainment. The event will be from noon until 9 p.m. Saturday, May 6.

“From noon until 4 p.m., we will have an information fair, and anyone interested in bringing bilingual information about services they offer is invited,” Haddad said.

Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican soldiers’ victory against French and traitor Mexican troops on May 5, 1862 in Puebla, Mexico, according to Haddad.

“To our local Jacksonville Hispanic Group, PLAN, the life’s lessons learned (from the victory) are that unity brings the best of all of us to strive and prosper. And that’s why Cinco De Mayo is such a party — a party that celebrates God’s blessings of unity, prosperity, freedom and liberty,” Haddad said in a statement from PLAN.

Officers with PLAN include Haddad; Jesse Gobea Jr., director; Amalia Gomez, co-director; Martha Toledo, secretary; and Eric Johnson, treasurer.

For information about PLAN, contact Haddad at 903-721-0718. For information about the Cinco De Mayo celebration, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 903-586-2217.

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