Cinco de Mayo — the fifth of May. Not just any day on the calendar, but a day to commemorate Mexico’s 19th-century fight against French occupation. Though this year Cinco de Mayo arrives on a Monday, one overwhelming aspect of the date holds true — whatever day it falls on, it’s always a party. In fact, it’s a fiesta.
It’s a given that Mexican restaurants will be hosting events, but here are few places with special perks for party-goers. They are all free to attend, but food and drink from the menus will cost you.
La Mex Restaurant (8330 King St. and 2550 Spenard Road) is adding some sweet prizes and merchandise to the mix. The theme this year is “beachy,” said Cyndi Ramirez, La Mex’s promotions guru.
This includes decorations, T-shirts, live music and prizes including travel vouchers. The party will hop both Saturday and Monday, starting around 8:30 p.m.with a jalapeno popper-eating contest Saturday and the real jalapeno-eating contest Monday.
As a bonus, Dan Salls rocks at the Dimond location, and Gil Rodriguez performs at the Spenard location, both at 7:30 Saturday and Monday. And, there’s a new margarita flavor worth trying. It’s Prickly Pear, and it’s light, refreshing and a perfect complement to springtime ($6.75). Salt, in this case, is optional.
Patrons of Patron can head to both Gallo's Mexican Restaurant locations (8311 Arctic Blvd. and 8615 Old Seward Highway) as they host fetes Saturday and Monday with drawings for a trip to Mexico, T-shirts and a complimentary buffet from 4 p.m. until closing. Also, the Cazadores Girls will be serving shots of Cazadores Tequila, if you pay them.
Downtown, the party rocks Saturday at La Cabana (312 E. Fourth Ave.) with a DJ from 5 to 7 p.m. and Rebel Blues from 7 to 11 p.m. While you’re rocking, look for food and drink specials.
Casa Grande Cantina (201 E. Northern Lights Blvd.) celebrates Cinco de Mayo and its 10th anniversary with a small party Saturday and a main event beginning around 3 p.m. Monday. The patio is open, and complimentary food will be grilled outside for hungry patrons. Also, a jalapeno-eating contest, prizes and DJ music are in store. The bar and patio, though, are 21-and-up only.
And, of course, there’s Chilkoot Charlie's (2435 Spenard Road). Koot’s honors the fifth day of May with a show by Bullet 4 Daisy featuring Arize on the south stage from 8 to 10 p.m. Monday. What’s better than margaritas and all the chips and salsa you can eat? Headbanging afterward to local metal bands, that’s what.
Cinco de Mayo has become a holiday of fun, food and frivolity. And it’s a party because it honors a day in which bias, race and location don’t really matter. Whatever your ethnicity or gender, whatever politician you support, whatever city you live in, we can all agree that on at least one day a margarita is a fine thing to share.