It is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day. It is not; that would be September 16. It is also not a national holiday in Mexico, though some regions do observe it. Cinco de Mayo is, however, widely celebrated in the U.S. as a day of Mexican heritage and pride. This weekend, Minnesota acknowledges Mexican heritage heartily by turning Cesar Chavez Street into a huge, family-friendly fiesta.There'll be vendors and fair-style food, and certain zones of the festival will focus on community activism, health programs, sports, and kids' activities. Always the event not to miss, the lowrider car show and hydraulic showdown will feature a battle of the flashiest, bounciest, and best of the blinged-out cars, trucks, hot rods, and other vehicles out there. Expect intricate hood murals, shiny rims, and steering wheels the size of umbrellas on display Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Wabasha Street Caves parking lot. Other activities of note include the Saturday parade (at 10 a.m.), and the yearly salsa-tasting competition. Think you can handle the heat? Sign up for the jalapeño-eating contest. Throw in live music and performances by traditional groups as well as modern local acts like Maria Isa, and you've got yourself an excellent start to the street festival season. For more info visit www.districtdelsol.com.
Fri., May 1, 4-9 p.m.; Sat., May 2, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 2009