AP NEWS

Cinco de Mayo fun in downtown Florence will benefit Habitat for Humanity

May 2, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Fiesta fun will return Friday evening to downtown Florence in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

The fifth annual Downtown Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the 100 block of South Dargan Street. The 100 block is between Cheves and Evans streets.

Admission is free, but proceeds from ticket sales for food and drinks will go toward the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity.

Debbie Edwards, executive director of the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity, said Tuesday that the proceeds from the fiesta will go to the construction of a house on West Vista Street by the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity.

Con’Stella (Stellas) Brailey and her three children – Za’Vion, 10, Dylan, 9, and Mahogany, 1 – have been announced as the recipients of the four-bedroom, two-bathroom house. Construction is expected to begin in June.

“All the proceeds from the event go toward our next home build,” Edwards said. “That’s why it’s important for people to attend. Every dollar counts.”

Edwards added that sometimes at the ticketing booth, people will make donations using credit cards.

The land for the home on West Vista Street will be donated to the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity by the city of Florence as part of a partnership established in 2018 that will also see the city donate $25,000 per developed lot.

The Fantasy Band will perform at the fiesta for the third time. It performed at the 2017 and 2018 fiestas.

According to its website, the Fantasy Band is a six-piece band – guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, one percussionist/male vocalist and one male lead vocalist – that performs everything from beach music to Motown, funk, soul, and smooth R&B. The band has been together for 20 years and has toured in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii and Las Vegas as well as on Carnival Cruise Lines.

The fiesta will also feature a kids’ zone, Chihuahua races and a costume contest.

Edwards added that the VIP area will move from the Waters Building to the courtyard of the Florence County Museum.

The Florence Cinco de Mayo fiesta was started as a way to bring a new event that had never been done before to Florence while benefiting the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity. The first fiesta was held in 2015. The fiesta has been held every year since.

Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in communities across all 50 states in the United States and in more than 70 countries.

The Greater Florence affiliate of Habitat for Humanity received its charter in 1991 and has since partnered with more than 40 families to help them become homeowners and provide them the opportunity to improve their lives.

Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May in English, commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The French attacked Mexico in an attempt to establish a stronger territorial hold upon the Americas and to demand the repayment of debts the Mexicans had accumulated from the Mexican-American and Reform Wars.

Though outnumbered and poorly prepared, the Mexicans defeated the French in the battle.

The battle also marked the last time a country in the Americas was invaded by a European power.

Thus, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with military displays and re-enactments of the battle.

In the United States, the holiday is used to celebrate Mexican-American culture and originated from the Mexican-American civil rights, or Chicano, movement of the 1960s. The holiday expanded from areas with large Mexican-American populations as marketers and beer companies saw an opportunity to capitalize on the celebratory nature of the day.

For more information about the fiesta, visit the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity website at florencehabitat.com and click on Upcoming Events at the bottom of the menu on the right side of the page.