Music, dancers, food and fun downtown this Friday


IMLAY CITY — An evening of family fun, food and culture is on tap this Friday, May 5, as the Hispanic Service Center hosts a Cinco de Mayo celebration from 5-8 p.m. downtown.

All are welcome to gather at the corner of Third and Main streets to enjoy the celebration, which commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Traditional dancers entertain the crowd during last year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration in downtown Imlay City.

Visitors will enjoy live mariachi band music, traditional dancers, a wide variety of Mexican food including homemade tamales, free face painting and children’s games presented by the Imlay City High School Spanish Club and more.

In its second consecutive year, the Cinco de Mayo celebration promises fun for everyone, says event co-organizer Margaret Guerrero- DeLuca.

“We want to continue a tradition that’s great for the community and hope that it’s something that will continue through the years,” she says.

Along with food and entertainment, a pinata breaking event for youngsters takes place from 5:15-6 p.m. Ages 3-5 are slated for 5:15-5:30 p.m.; ages 6-8 from 5:30-5:45 p.m. and ages 9-12 from 5:45-6 p.m.

Visitors can also take part in Taco Eating contests from 6-6:15 p.m. for ages 12 and under, and from 6:15-6:30 p.m. for ages 13 and up.

Those looking to spice things up can test their limits in Jalapeno Eating contests slated for 6:30-6:45 p.m. for ages 12 and under, and 6:45-7 p.m. for ages 13 and up.

The Third and Main Event Center will also be open throughout the event, where visitors can purchase beverages.

The event is a major fundraiser for the Hispanic Service Center, and is made possible through sponsorships from the Imlay City Downtown Development Authority, Third and Main Event Center, Vintech Industries, Imlay City Ford and Choice One Bank.

Guerrero-DeLuca says hosting the Cinco de Mayo celebration is just one of the many community services provided by the Hispanic Service Center.

“The Hispanic Service Center is a staple in the Imlay City community, and has been for the past 52 years. They operate a food pantry, homeless shelter, offer language classes, and host numerous senior citizen events,” she says. “It is a true gem in the Imlay City community.”

Celebration continues

As the Cinco de Mayo event winds down at 8 p.m., Third and Main will be geared up for Latin Night from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The $10 charge at the door includes entertainment by DJ Maury, a local DJ specializing in Latin music, who will spin tunes through the evening, Guerrero- DeLuca says, making for a lively atmosphere.

“It’s going to be a great evening out,” she says. “We’ve hosted other Latin Nights, and there is always a great crowd, people of all ages, a great mix of people and a great time.”

Preserving a tradition

Guerrero-DeLuca and other Cinco de Mayo organizers hope to make the celebration a permanent event in Imlay City.

She was mayor in May of 2009 when the first Cinco de Mayo celebration took place, and it was a hit with the community.

“We have a diverse community and I thought we should have a Cinco de Mayo celebration,” she says. “We had a great turnout–everyone seemed to enjoy it, and then it just stopped.”

Through prompting by Hispanic Service Center Director Lordes Emke and board member Angie McCoy, the event was resurrected last year.

“It was awesome,” Guerrero-DeLuca says. “We had about 300 people attend, and so we decided to make this an annual event. After all, it is the biggest fundraiser for the Hispanic Service Center.”

A former board member of HSC, Guerrero-DeLuca is also the manager of Third and Main.

Special order tamales

The Hispanic Service Center is taking pre-orders for fresh, homemade tamales for pickup on May 5. Call 810-724-3665 to place an order.