Sunday, May 2, 2010
ORO SOLIDO Featured at 18th Annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival in DC
Merengue band ORO SOLIDO returned to the big stage at the Washington Monument for the 18th Annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival on Sunday, May 2, 2010.
The popular band was one of many attractions that drew thousands of people to the National Mall to celebrate Latino culture on a warm sunny day. The Festival ran from noon until 6 p.m. and featured music, dance, crafts for children and an exhibit of Latin American art.
“We had a beautiful day for the Festival this year, and I was happy to see so many families who stayed all day, sitting on blankets on the grass and watching the show,” said Maru Montero, founder of the Festival and president of the Maru Montero Dance Company.
Other performers included Mariachi Los Amigos and DC Mariachi performing with the Mexican folk dancers of the Maru Montero Dance Company (MMDC). The Cuban drummers and dancers of Alafia played the African-influenced sounds of the Caribbean. Los Hermanos Lobo from El Salvador played cumbias that got people moving on the stage and in the crowd.
The master of ceremonies was the upbeat and positive Cristopolis, who also entertained with bilingual Latino Hip-Hop.
Banda Morena played songs from Northern Mexico, accompanied by the MMDC dancers.
There were dance contests all day, including tropical, banda and “La Raspa” for children. Maya and Miguel joined a couple of dance contests, too. The winners took home a $100 gift card from Festival sponsor Target, an official Cinco de Mayo T-shirt and a colorful floppy sombrero.
The Festival’s gold sponsor was McDonald’s, which also provided free cold drinks. The media sponsor was Telemundo. Bronze sponsors included the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Elon Capital Partners LLC, Freddie Mac Foundation and MAYA.
ORO SOLIDO was the big draw after their successful appearance at the 2008 Festival, and the New York-based performers did not disappoint. They invited dancers – the “single men” and then the “single ladies” - up on stage to dance with the band.
At the Children’s Pavilion, kids worked all day making their own piñatas, hair-braids made from colorful stands of yarn, dancing puppets and other crafts. The craft tables, the market and other interactive areas of the Festival were staffed by dozens of volunteers.
Gloria “La Tarasca” Valdez organized a show of Latin American art. The artists were available to talk about their work and organized drawing lessons for children.
“Officially, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, but we have turned it into a day of celebration for all Latinos living here and for all Americans who enjoy the culture,” Montero said. “Our Festival is like the Latino St. Patrick’s Day. That’s why we say, ‘On Cinco de Mayo, everybody’s Latino.”
The free festival offers Latin dance, music, food, workshops for children and a full day of activities for the entire family.
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Check back for schedule and updates on the 2011 Festival