Arts & Culture Family Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Music & Events Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich April 29, 2010

Let Austin have its Reggae Festival. Let New York have Mostly Mozart. And by all means, let Colorado keep the Fruitcake Toss.
We Phoenicians get one of the big daddys of all festivals: Cinco de Mayo.
Stretching over nine blocks in Downtown Phoenix (Jefferson Street from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue), this year’s Cinco Festival is expected to draw more than 225,000 people in just two days. That’s twice the population of Santa Clara, California. No wonder it’s considered the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the entire Southwest.
CincoNow in its 17th year, the Cinco de Mayo Festival is equal parts outdoor party, live concert and Mexican food fest, with added attractions like the NBA’s largest mobile basketball playground and dancers from Ballet Folklorico.
And here’s still another reason to love this festival: admission is only $5 per person, and kids 12 and under get in free. The celebration kicks off this Saturday at 2 pm and runs till midnight, then opens again Sunday from noon to 10 pm. Check out the highlights:
Local bands, plus big headliner War
Funk band War, known for hits like “Low Rider,” “Cisco Kid,” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” will bring the party to a rowdy close Sunday night at 8 p.m.  But don’t worry: whenever you happen to arrive, you can catch performances from bands like La Familia, Grupo Calor, Powerdrive and Carlos Rivas.
Foodie Alert
I probably don’t need to say this, but what the heck: come hungry. Chances are, your favorite Mexican food and drink will be on tap.
Whether you’re a big or little kid, there’s all kinds of stuff to keep you juiced up and happy. Shoot hoops at the big NBA NATION basketball playground or watch BMX stunt performances.
And here’s one last detail that bears mentioning: Arvizu Charities, in partnership with Grand Canyon University, will award more than $30,000 in scholarships to the school. Students can apply during the festival or at

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