Photos: The scene at Oak Cliff's Cinco de Mayo celebration
Sleek, gold-rimmed lowriders cruise down the hot pavement, banderas in tow. Mesmerizing spirals of purple, pink and blue twirl to the rhythm of Folklorico dancers. Icy scoops of aguas frescas - limon, piña, jamaica - are generously poured into the cups of thirsty fiesta-goers. Cinco de Mayo was in full swing on Saturday in Oak Cliff in Dallas.
The annual celebration included a parade, cultural performances, DJs and a street lined with local vendors.
Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts founder Sylvana Aliva Alonzo said this celebration is, first and foremost, about the community of Oak Cliff. This commitment means inviting local storefronts and schools, covering potholes and featuring emerging artists on community stages.
Historically, Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico's victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But its meaning transcends time and description, said Alonzo.
"It wasn't a battle - it was people fighting for what they believed in," Alonzo said.
That victory gave Mexico the courage to continue fighting, Alonzo said.
"It touches families in every way - health, education, the high poverty level in Dallas. When Cinco de Mayo comes around, it's also a reminder that we have to keep on fighting, to not give up."
Dallas local Alex Robies says he's happy to have space where he can represent his group, a club of leather-vested motorcyclists called "Mi Raza Unidos MC." Their group includes doctors, lawyers, business owners and, above all, bike enthusiasts.
"We can do anything if we get together as a community," said Roles.
Suddenly, the roar of the stage speakers quiets. A deep, rhythmic drumming takes its place. Traditional Aztec dancers of the group Danza Guerrero Chichimecas Tonantzin flood the street, quickly drawing in a full crowd.
The group is Dallas based, but started in the city of San Luis de la Paz in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. They represent a tradition generations deep, said member Diego Ramirez.
"It's about remembering our origin, our roots - to never forget where we're from," Ramirez said.