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Cinco de Mayo: North Bay

By Gabe Meline

The North Bay this week celebrates Cinco de Mayo in a variety of community celebrations highlighting Hispanic and Latino culture.

In Santa Rosa, the third annual alcohol-free event features the traditional music of Banda Pachuco, reggaeton group Riddim 510, Norbay award-winner David Correa and many others (in fact, a free-for-all rap contest often ensues on the side stage). With dozens of food stands and taco trucks, a lowrider parade, salsa dance contest and plenty of information booths, Santa Rosa's Cinco de Mayo celebration is the largest in the North Bay. It gets underway on Monday, May 5, at the former Albertsons shopping center on Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa. 4pm–10pm.

The town of Sonoma will honor its Mexican ancestry on the same site as the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846 with an alcohol-free celebration.  Hosted by the La Luz Center, "Fiesta for Education" benefits kids through live mariachi music, dancers and children's games on Sunday, May 4, at Sonoma Town Plaza, Sonoma. Noon–5pm. Free.

Also in Sonoma County, Windsor celebrates its sizeable Latino ancestry with a Cinco de Mayo celebration on the city's town green. Craft tables for kids and food booths add to the festivities with the music of Universo Musical and Mariachi Jalisco and the traditional dance of Ballet Folklorico Sarita on Monday, May 5, at Windsor Town Green, 9455 Bell Road, Windsor. 5pm–8pm.

Napa's Latino community gathers in Calistoga for a parade through downtown featuring floats, costumes, dancers and cars. Festivities follow at the fairgrounds with Brazilian-style drum troupe Windsor Bloco, mariachi groups, a trick-rope act, DJ Tolteca and Napa Valley and Woodland Ballet Folklorico. For kids, there're rides, ponies, games and a singing contest for ages seven to 14 on Sunday, May 4, in downtown Calistoga and Napa Valley Fairgrounds, 1435 Oak St., Calistoga. Free parade at noon; festival follows from 1pm–5pm. $5; 12 and under free.

In Marin, the third annual Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place in San Rafael with Nixzohatl Aztec dancers, live reggaeton music, Latin rock bands, the hip-hop sounds of the Blaxicans and electronic artist Oblio. Saturday's festivities also include soccer juggling, poetry, raffles and food galore in an alcohol-free environment. It takes place on Saturday, May 3, outside the offices of Canal Alliance, 91 Larkspur St., San Rafael. 1pm–7pm. Free.

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