Green, white and red Mexican flags will wave all over town this weekend for Cinco de Mayo festivities.
Modesto's celebration kicks off Saturday with a parade on Crows Landing Road, followed by a community fiesta Sunday at Tuolumne River Regional Park.
Both events are sponsored by the Latino Community Roundtable and California Promotions with Comerciantes Unidos co-sponsoring the parade and La Mejor Magazine, the fiesta.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican Army's defeat of French forces on May 5, 1862. The holiday is bigger in the United States than it is in Mexico, said Maggie Mejia, grand marshal of the parade and treasurer of the Latino Community Roundtable.
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The parade will have more than 75 entries, including charros and their dancing horses, floats, bandas, car clubs, children's groups and more.
As many as 6,000 people, with some coming from as far away as the Bay Area or Sacramento, are expected to watch the procession.
"It's such a wonderful festive day," Mejia said. "The whole community comes out, the schools come out. People take pride in this parade."
The fiesta will feature vendors selling tacos, carne asada, Mexican sweets, plus traditional Mexican crafts and music. La Raza Obrera headlines the main musical entertainment with other performances by La Grande Banda El Limon, Los Zafiros, Marlu y Sus Complices, Arrendadores and Reino Norte.
Mejia predicted some 5,000 people would attend the event. Two-thousand free tickets are available through Latino Community Roundtable and Spanish TV and radio stations.
"People love that beautiful park, they love the atmosphere," Mejia said. "It's a very safe atmosphere."