It’s almost May, and that means it’s almost time for Cinco de Mayo. This is not, as sometimes reported, Mexico’s version of Independence Day, but rather a celebration of the surprise victory of the Mexican army over the French in the Battle of Puebla, which occurred on May 5, 1862. Today the celebration occurs all over the U.S., and the Twin Cities is no exception.

St. Paul’s Cinco de Mayo West Side St. Paul, one of the biggest celebrations, takes place on the big day itself, Saturday, May 5. They’ve got a lot going on: 5K family fun run, parade, live music, jalapeno eating contest, el grito contests, a community village and market, a family zone with activities and displays, and ethnic dancing. Oh—and food, of course. (Note: the west side is looking for volunteers this Saturday, April 28, to do a neighborhood clean-up in preparation for the festival. Click the link for more information.)

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Also in St. Paul is Pajarito’s second Cinco de Mayo event on May 5, with food and games for the whole family (ice cream tacos!), as well as beer and cocktails.

Stillwater has the Tim Sigler Cinco de Mayo on May 5, with a concert by Tim Sigler, starting with an all ages event including a family-friendly DJ, bouncy house, and pinatas, followed by a tequila tasting. Free pint of beer if you’re wearing a sombrero or poncho.

New Ulm’s Plaza Garibaldi will host a Cinco de Mayo Celebration the evening of May 5. Plan on lots of food and drinks.

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Hackensack’s Birchwood Char House & Bar is also offering a May 5 celebration.

Minneapolis will host Cinco de Mayo on Lake Street on May 13, as a combination celebration with Mother’s Day (Dia de Las Madres). You can expect live music, dancing, kids’ activities, and food.

In Willmar, they’re celebrating later with a Cinco de Mayo Family Festival on May 19. Food, music, dancing, kids’ activities, and a jalapeno eating contest, among other events.

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What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.