Rochelle’s Cinco De Mayo festival is May 7

Rochelle’s Cinco De Mayo festival is Saturday, May 7 from 4-11 p.m. in the downtown gazebo area.

‘We want to bring everybody together’

ROCHELLE — Rochelle’s Cinco De Mayo festival is Saturday, May 7 from 4-11 p.m. in the downtown gazebo area. 

The event hasn’t taken place in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rochelle City Councilwoman Rosaelia Arteaga, the event’s lead organizer, said during a Facebook live with Mayor John Bearrows last week that the event will feature food and craft vendors, live bands and folkloric groups and activities for children. 

“We’ll have lots of things for young kids like bounce houses, STEM blocks to build all sorts of things and we’re looking for a petting zoo,” Arteaga said. “We want this to be a family-friendly event for all ages. The committee is also working on food vendors and we have local ones and new ones. We don’t want long lines. Hopefully everyone will come join us.”

Bearrows said one of the things he thinks is extremely important about the event is the chance to bring different groups together along with the opportunity to learn about different cultures and beliefs and build trust within the community. 

“If you don’t know the culture of others, there’s a tendency to stand off,” Bearrows said. “This needs to be an event that’s open to everyone and everyone can enjoy the day together. Let’s bring people closer together and once we understand different beliefs and culture, then it’s much easier for everyone to work together.” 

Arteaga said the event will also include a mechanical bull and hot chili pepper eating and karaoke contests. She hopes to have the entire downtown area full and many food vendors. 

“There will be all sorts of fun and diversity for all ages,” Arteaga said. “We want to bring everybody together and welcome everybody. If you haven’t been to Cinco De Mayo before, please come. There is something for everybody. Bring kids and grandparents and bring some chairs and listen to the music. Have a beverage and food and enjoy a beautiful day learning something different.”

Arteaga said the biggest parts of putting on the event are setup and cleanup. More volunteers are needed and wanted and those interested in helping can reach out to her via email at [email protected]

“We want this to stay and we want this to grow,” Arteaga said. “The more people the merrier. Everyone is welcome and we’re hoping for great weather.”