On May 5, 1862, Mexican Commander General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín led a cavalry charge against invading French forces in the Mexican city of Puebla. The battle was a decisive and unlikely victory for the Mexicans.
Whether Zaragoza and his men celebrated their success with a round of tequila body shots is unknown. But that won’t stop local residents from celebrating accordingly.
The first Cinco de Drinko bar crawl takes place tonight in Pensacola. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Hub Stacey’s with $3 shots and $1.50 Mexican beer. Buses will shuttle partygoers to Intermission and Play, then out to the beach to hit up The Dock, Paddy O’Leary’s and finally, Paradise Bar & Grill.
“The buses will then take people back downtown,” says Dustin Sharp, creator and organizer of the event. “I’ve (also) arranged room rates at Paradise for those who want to stay on the beach.”
Free drinks will be served on the bus rides, and attendees receive a free t-shirt.
“The next day is my birthday, so Cinco de Mayo is big for me,” says Sharp.
Sharp moved to the Pensacola area from Tucson, Ariz. about a year ago. Though he enjoys the area, he says he was disappointed by Pensacola’s lack of Cinco de Mayo spirit.
“(Cinco de Mayo) is really celebrated where I’m from,” says Sharp. “It’s not as big a deal (here) as it was in the Southwest. I thought it’d be fun to bring it here.”
Sharp, a bartender at Hub Stacey’s, has spent the last year getting to know Pensacola’s people and culture.
“(At Hub Stacey’s,) I met quite a few people that I became really close to and am friends with,” says Sharp. “That network has really helped me organize the event. I’ve been plugging away at it, and it kind of turned into a snowball.”
While attaining little significance in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.
David E. Hayes-Bautista, a professor at UCLA, has written extensively on the subject. “Celebration of the Cinco de Mayo…is an American Civil War holiday, created spontaneously by Mexicans and Latinos living in California who supported…freedom and democracy,” writes Hayes-Bautista.
According to Hayes-Bautista, news of the Mexican victory over the French “electrified” Mexicans in California, who had “agonized with the Union over the Confederacy’s seeming invincibility.”
“Finally, in a major battle, the forces of freedom and democracy had prevailed over the forces of slavery and oligarchy,” writes Hayes-Bautista.
Historical significance aside, Dustin Sharp sees Cinco de Mayo as the ultimate excuse to have a good time.
“Everyone parties really hard and enjoys Mexican beer and tequila,” says Sharp. “I celebrate that.”
CINCO DE DRINKO BAR CRAWL
WHEN: 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday, May 5
WHERE: Hub Stacey’s, Intermission, Play, The Dock, Paddy O’Leary’s, Paradise Bar & Grill
COST: $25 (limited to 50 seats)