On Sunday, May 5 the Suavesitos Car Club held its fourth annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at La Plaza Park in San Bernardino. Several hundred visitors came to enjoy a car show, food vendors, Ballet Folklorico exhibition, singing, music and dancing.
Chris Moreno, President of the Suavesitos Car Club, said that he remembered coming to La Plaza Park back around 1975 with his family to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Back then there were carnival rides, vendors, music and dancing. Chris said that he wants to restore that traditional celebration. The Suavesitos Car Club raised the funds needed to put on the celebrations, including $1,700 in permit fees. Between three breakfast fundraisers and the raffling off of a 1970 Chevy Impala, enough money came in to proceed with the celebration.
Ballet Folkloric Nueva Esperanza is a San Bernardino dance group that entertained the crowds with several traditional dances. The dancers ranged in age from 7 to 22. Special guest singer was Jessica Castellanos who sang many older traditional Mexican songs that had several people in the crowd singing along.
Cruz and Kathy Ruiz, longtime residents of San Bernardino, came to La Plaza Park to show their 1949 Fleet Line Deluxe Chevy sedan. Found lounging with their two dog companions under a shady tree, Cruz and Kathy were enjoying everything the park had to offer.
Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes presented the Suavesitos Car Club with a Certificate of Recognition, thanking the car club for uplifting the community through their entertainment. Receiving the award was Car Club President Chris Moreno and his wife Kathleen, car club Sargent-at-Arms Steve Veloz, and car club member Louie Martinez who was the Master of Ceremony. Moreno also presented Assemblymember Reyes with a Certificate of Appreciation for her participation and support of the Cinco de Mayo Celebration.
Several other car clubs came to celebrate at La Plaza Park; “Lifetime Memories”, “Side Affect”, “Oldie Style” to name a few. One of the larger clubs in attendance was “Side Affect Car Club”. Eddie Adame, President of the Side Affect Car Club, said that car clubs are a form of sport, like Hot Rod Racing. Combining the Hot Rod and Low Rider styles – “Low Rod” – may be the next growing car sport.
Velia Marquez has lived in San Bernardino for 82 years in the same home. Velia started working for the City of San Bernardino in 1965. After 36 years, Velia retired as the Police Chief’s secretary serving over 9 Chiefs. Velia came to enjoy the music, dancing, cars, and many of the foods being offered; and even took home extra snacks. During the event, several people were asked what Cinco de Mayo meant to them, other than quoting the actual history of the victory at “Puebla;” many mentioned that it was a time to celebrate, remember, and share their heritage, family, and traditions.