Feliz Cinco de Mayo. Today honors Mexico’s victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla — a major symbol of anti-imperialism, freedom, and democracy.
Cinco de Mayo translates to “May 5,” which is the day the battle was fought in 1862. One of the first recorded celebrations happened just weeks later, when news of the victory reached Columbia, California. Latin + Californian residents alike joined in. While the win was significant for Mexico, it also kept Napoleon at bay, and he was unable to aid the Confederacy during the US Civil War.
Traditional papel picado hanging in KC’s Westside neighborhood. | Photo by @masterbrenner
🇲🇽 KC’s Mexico connection
You’ve heard of Union Station, right? Mexican settlers began moving to KC in 1909 to work on the railroads and build the new train station (after the flooded Union Depot in the West Bottoms). Immigrants first settled on KC’s Westside with communities later emerging in other places like KCK’s Argentine. Cinco de Mayo celebrations have taken place in the Westside since the 1920s.
Life for the immigrant workers and their families was tough (moving away from political upheaval, settling in foreign environments, racial prejudice), so female reformers created a social service organization called the Guadalupe Center — still operating today.
🇲🇽 Ways to celebrate in KC
This cultural holiday is more than just Mexican flags and marg deals. Although consumer-driven celebrations largely sprang up in the 1980s, a couple authentic events remain in KC — if you know where to look.
Cinco de Mayo Celebration | Guadalupe Centers, 1015 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, Kansas City, MO | Friday, May 6-Sat., May 7 | Times vary | Free | A 100-year-old celebration (literally started in 1922) with mariachis, folkloric dancers, food trucks, kids rides, and art.
Trio Aztlan Celebrates Cinco de Mayo | Blue Room, 1600 East 18th St., Kansas City, MO | Thurs., May 5 | 12-1 p.m. | Free | Formed in 1992 due to the absence of a traditional Latin trio group in KC, this group performs folkloric music.
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Go Red for Women Luncheon 2022 | Fri., May 6 | 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS | $15 |Join local women in the empowering event that includes a silent auction + lunch. 💃
Jordan Davis | Fri., May 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Arvest Bank Theater at The Midland | $30 |A country-pop singer famous for his song “Singles You Up.”
Kansas City BBQ Fest | Fri., May 6-Sun., May 8 | Times vary | Arrowhead Stadium | $0+ |Sample BBQ from pitmasters from across the country. 🍖
Midwest Tea Festival | Sat., May 7-Sun., May 8 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS | $5+ | Spill the tea with more than a dozen presenters + vendors at the immersive tea experience. 🫖
Kentucky Derby Party | Sat., May 7 | 2-7 p.m. | J. Rieger & Co, 2700 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, MO | $25 | Ticket includes a welcome cocktail, live bluegrass music, derby clothes competitions, and the fastest two minutes in sports. 🏇
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
Artwork by Phyllis Hernandez of Sala de Arte. | Photo by KCtoday
Named after her mother, Teresa Grado opened Lilly’s last year. She has 20 years of catering experience, and every recipe comes from her parents, who raised her on the Westside. We had chips, salsa, a la carte options + a half-size Yucatán margarita. So. Good.
“We have been there twice now, and I feel like they know us!” — Reader Marilynn C.
Visit Lilly’s today — at 3711 SW Tfwy. — for its first ever Cinco de Mayo party (9 a.m.-11 p.m. in the back parking lot off 37th St.) including breakfast burritos, drink specials, and DJs.
Feliz cumpleaños. Cinco de Mayo is also the one-year anniversary for Café Ollama. The Mexican-owned, Latin-American-inspired coffee shop will have a wheel of fortune offering goodies. Mangonada + Rebanada sodas are also returning through the weekend. 🎉
Summer lovin’ had me a blast. The City Market is starting a new seasonal series called Fresh Fridays on May 6. Every first Friday of the month from 4-8 p.m., all ages are welcome to enjoy a maker’s market, music, and food. Admission is free.
Take a trip to Italy — without leaving KC. Jasper’s, an award-winning, family-owned Italian restaurant, is launching a new supper club: Springtime in an Italian Piazza. At $65 per person, diners get curated dishes like prosciutto + cantaloupe, lemon chicken, and amaretto budino (think: Italian pudding). Reservations are required. 🇮🇹
The four-story UMB Bank building in South KC — 1310 Carondelet Dr. — is gone. It was demolished to make way for (drum roll) another UMB Bank building. The new five-story project will include The Roasterie + office space for another tenant. The branch is expected to open in spring 2023. (Martin City Telegraph)
Thundercat, the bass guitarist, singer, and songwriter, is bringing his progressive funk + R&B to Grinders — 417 E. 18th St. — on Mon., Aug. 8. Let’s hope he’s not covered in cat hair. Tickets go on sale this Fri., May 6. 🎸
Remember Tuesday’s news note about the West Bottoms redesign? The development company behind it, SomeraRoad Inc., recently moved into the neighborhood — at 1215 Union Ave. It’s the company’s seventh office nationwide. P.S. — We met Spencer Sight, the space’s creative director, while out shooting ghost signs. 👋 (Kansas City Business Journal)
KC Current is out of the Challenge Cup final after losing to North Carolina Courage, 1-2. Kristen Hamilton scored for Kansas City in the 79th minute. The home team turns the regular season, with their home opener against Houston this Sun., May 8.
Royal’s infielder Bobby Witt Jr. hit his debut MLB home run on Tuesday, sending a low pitch over the left field wall. His homer helped the Royals win7-1, avoiding a series sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals. Witt had two hits, two RBIs, and he scored twice. (FOX4)
Locally-owned d’Bronx Authentic Deli and Pizzeria — 3904 Bell St., KCMO — is temporarily closed with no opening date. Management says the building is old and needs improvements. The Mission + Overland Park locations are also temporarily closed. d’Bronx originated as a deli in the Bronx in New York. (Kansas City Star)
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Speaking of small businesses, locally-owned Penny’s Bakeryjust opened — at 13109 Holmes Rd., KCMO. The company specializes in gourmet donuts but also serves other goods like cinnamon rolls, muffins, and baguettes. The shop is open Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
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Editor’s pick: I hit my running distance PR today of 4 miles. Pro tip: The West Bottoms is one of the flattest places downtown for running. Also, there’s a sidewalk on James Street, and the view above the railroads (just north of I-670) is amazing — just in case you need to catch a breather.
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