Singleton Plaza in downtown Waxahachie was alive with celebration Saturday for the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival sponsored by the Ellis County Hispanic Organization. The plaza was filled with bright colors and traditional music as attendees meandered through the vendor booths and food merchants taking in the cultural festivities at the family-friendly event.

“This was put together by volunteer hours of six people. We really have an appreciation for the multi-cultural diversity of Waxahachie,” Julissa Martinez, coordinator and spokesperson for the event, said.

“Our event is family oriented with lots of kids events. We like to come out for family fun.”

Saturday’s schedule included low riders, line dancing, hot sauce contest and Mariachi music. Eighteen vendors representing a variety of merchandise, food and local organizations welcomed attendees.

“Today is a culmination of a year long work,” Martinez said.

This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Mano G (Mario Gonzales).

“He passed away during last year’s event. He did such a great job for us and this is a tribute to his memory,” Martinez said.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army over French forces in 1862. It is a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.

David Garcia manned a booth offering Mexican bingo to benefit Daniel’s Den in Waxahachie.

Gloria Harmon, 21-year-Waxahachie resident, had games for prizes and a variety of colorful kites for sale.

“I was here last year and it was fabulous,” Harmon said. “I like to do the local events. The music is so festive and family-oriented.”

Leslie Pantoja had a selection of used books in English and Spanish as well as an assortment of homemade bath products.

“I came out last year with my kids and it was really busy so I knew it would be a great event to do,” Pantoja said.

From air brush tattoos to shaved ice and fajitas to funnel cakes, food seemed to be a big draw as lunchtime neared.

Marilyn Abbitt, 10, Madison Farnon, 10, and 6-year-old Michael Farnon were licking the last of the powdered sugar remaining from a funnel cake. The children said they came for the games, shopping and, of course, the funnel cake. The four brightly-colored bounce houses were also a favorite stop for the kids.

Sissy Litsinger, owner of The Gilded Lily Pad, said last year everyone was at the festival and no one was in her shop, so she decided to take a booth.

“I just love festivals,” Litsinger said. “I’ve already lined up for next year.”

Angela Weare was taking in a little shopping and enjoying the great weather and festivities.

“I work all the time so I’m here to have a little fun. I’m really liking all the food,” Weare said.

The celebration was scheduled to continue into the evening with live music and entertainment provided by the Conjunto Outlaws, the Conjunto Prohibido, Animo, Escape, the Hometown Boys and Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.