Most everyone loves to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, though most of us have no idea what it actually commemorates. So, before we go getting all crazy with tequila shooters and diving into vats of chips, salsa and queso, let’s understand the story behind this American-adopted Mexican holiday.
Cinco de Mayo is the observance of Mexico’s victory -- despite being outnumbered two to one -- over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. If you want to be a killjoy, you can mention that the French eventually came back with 30,000 troops and overtook Mexico City.
Now that we all sound smarter, here’s some of the best places and events to celebrate this year.
903 E. Dixie Dr., Dayton
The runners-up for Best Margarita in the Best of Dayton 2016 poll have an all-day party planned this year, with live music (provided by Michael Riley and Funky G & The Groove Machine), dancing, food and drink specials. Tickets are $5, with VIP tickets going for $20, to benefit the Pink Ribbon Girls organization, which provides services for families dealing with cancer. Private rooms, which come with four pitchers of margaritas, nacho bars and seat up to 20, are available for purchase. You can purchase tickets here.
CHUY’S AT AUSTIN LANDING
10445 Innovation Drive, Miami Township
The fiesta gets started at 4 p.m. with DJ Rob Sample spinning music before giving way to live music from The Menus at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 presale and $15 at the door, which gets you endless chips and queso and will benefit The Fisher House at the Dayton VA. VIP tickets are available for $75 and get you the aforementioned chips and qeuso as well as a light-up margarita glass and access to a tent where the drinks and food are all inclusive. You can purchase tickets here.
CHUY’S AT FAIRFIELD COMMONS
2717 Fairfield Commons, Beavercreek
If something a little more low key is your thing, the Chuy’s location at the Fairfield Mall will offer Three Days of Cinco de Mayo, beginning May 4th with drink specials each day -- including a hangover special on the 6th. Customers will also be given scratch-off tickets for a chance to win free food from the restaurant. If you still feel like being charitable, you can donate to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is the company’s charity of choice.
CARMEL’S SOUTHWEST GRILL
1025 Shroyer Rd., Dayton
This Tex-Mex establishment will offer live music and drink specials for their Cinco de Mayo celebration. Their own brand of margarita, the “Bobarita,” is underrated.
ELSA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANTS
This Dayton chain, started in 1979 by four lawyers, is known for its Super Burrito. However, they’re even more well-known for their Bad Juans, which have been partially responsible for an untold number of missed work days and other bad decisions. Since May 5th is on a Friday this year, all you need is a designated driver. Elsa’s reps say they don’t anticipate any drink specials, but you usually don’t have to when you have the Best Margarita in town.
WORTH THE DRIVE
The City of Cincinnati will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo all weekend long on Fountain Square with a family friendly event. Attractions will include a children’s area with arts and crafts, live music, raffles and authentic Latin cuisine. The three-day party is the largest Latin cultural celebration in the region. It all starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 5.