ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and one city in Douglas County celebrated a few days early.
It’s been two years since downtown Arcola was filled with traditional Mexican music.
Community members got up and danced cumbia. Kids kicked around a soccer ball. All to show their Hispanic heritage and support the town they call home.
“It’s kind of like a tradition for the Spanish community and American communities like that day too, that way they can celebrate too and enjoy together and one of the goals is – the community sticks together,” says Mayor Jesus Garza.
It is one of the first of many events newly elected Garza has planned. He is the first Latino to take the position in the city’s history.
“We have a big responsibility now – being mayor of Arcola,” says Garza. “Especially with the first hispanic community. I mean, it’s kind of hard.”
Yet, he makes planning a Cinco de Mayo fest look easy. He says many people in the community look forward to it.
“My favorite thing is the music. I love dancing and I just think the music brings more joy to the celebration,” says Jade Garza.
A celebration showing off the city’s diverse culture where 36.7% of the population is Latino.
“It shows both communities coming together, because it’s not just Hispanics on one side and Americans on the other. We’re all together,” says she says.
Garza says next year’s event will be bigger and better. He’s planning to collaborate with the Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re working on that together,” he says. “I hope we can do something better and bring in more business to town and I can’t do it by myself, but I mean, I hope we can work with everybody on this.”
Arcola’s next celebration will be the Broomstick Festival. That will take place in September.