Los Angeles celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo barbeques, gatherings, and parties are set to occur throughout the City of Angels this upcoming week in full force. Finding a fun place to eat, drink, and be merry while shouting "Viva Mexico!" at every chance you get is easy in LA, given that we boast the world's largest Cinco de Mayo festival and Mexican restaurants at what seem to be every corner.

For people in search of some cultural education, the plaza at Olvera Street will serve as the site for a party dawning traditional folklorico Mexican dancers and live music from 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. On May 8, war re-enactment scenes will take place in addition to more dancing, live music, and food booths.

Also on May 8, 12 square blocks in downtown Los Angeles will be closed, expected to be filled with hundreds of thousands of people for the 22nd Annual Fiesta Broadway celebration. Internationally renowned band Ozomatli is expected to perform as well as artists Diana Reyes and Carmen Jara. Hundreds of food and product vendors will be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For those looking for something indoors, and somewhat less crowded, favorite Mexican restaurants pack enough so they meet, or almost exceed, Fire Marshal limits. Last year, the wait at the popular Pacos Tacos (located on Centinela Avenue and Manchester Boulevard) was two hours long. Patrons all received Jose Cuervo shot glasses as a special Cinco de Mayo treat. Pacos Tacos do not take reservations, so there is no other option than to wait in line to fill your carne asada taco fix.

One of Manhattan Beach's oldest landmarks, Mexican restaurant Panchos, gives avid Cinco de Mayo celebrators a reason to wish the holiday never ended. They will be kicking off the annual event with games and prizes. Fox Sports Radio will broadcast live from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m., while Laker Girls perform from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. A full mariachi band will belt favorites from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., and the night will come to an end with live music from 9 p.m. until closing time.

Vicky Gonzalez, a waitress at Panchos, playfully adds, "It's really fun in here on Cinco de Mayo. Just come by and have a margarita!" Because with enough of those icy blends, it doesn't really matter where you end up this Cinco de Mayo to have a great time. Viva Mexico!