Cinco de Mayo
Little girls watch, enthralled, as dancers celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Photo credit: Screen shot,

Cinco de Mayo, like St. Patrick’s Day, is not so much a cultural touchstone as an excuse for a big-time party. And since it falls on a Friday, hey, why not extend the revels to Saturday? Let us help you find the best celebrations this San Diego weekend.

Dancing, beer, music, even wrestling. Do Cinco de Mayo your way at:

  • Bazaar del Mundo, Old Town – enjoy an all-day celebration at Casa Guadalajara Friday, as the restaurant will be decked out while featuring live mariachi music and ballet folklórico too. The fiesta extends to Diane Powers’ two other Mexican restaurants, Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad and Casa de Pico in La Mesa. Each opens at 11 a.m.
  • NOVO Brazil Brewing Company, Lane Avenue taproom in Chula Vista – hosts a Cinco de Mayo fest at 5 p.m. Friday with music from Tijuana rock-reggae fusion band Nosis, and mariachi and ballet folklórico performances, along with food from Barra Cruda Cevicheria and Temakeria San Diego. Want a limited-release brew too? There’s a lager with your name on it.
  • Seaport Village, Embarcadero – the fest, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, includes multiple performers, from Rancho La Laguna’s equestrian showcase, to Adriana Hernandez, whose show includes hits from Selena, Olympic boxer-turned-musician Fercho, and Luis Daniel, called the best Juan Gabriel impersonator in Baja California.
  • Golden Hill Park – A taco and beer fest on Cinco de Mayo weekend? Yes, please. Tacotopia, at 1 p.m. Saturday, features more than 50 top eateries from around San Diego competing for the title of top taco. Tickets start at $45.
  • Mavericks Beach Club, Pacific Beach – it’s a good time for Lucha Libre, starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Many margaritas will be served, but fans must be early for front- row seats as the wrestlers square off.

One of the sports world’s signature events, the Kentucky Derby, takes place the first Saturday every May. Sure San Diego is a wee bit west of the race, but never fear – you can play the ponies (and don the hats) here too:

  • Louisiana Purchase, North Park – hosts the Big Hat Brunch at noon Saturday, with the menu by Chef Quinnton Austin who brought his knowledge of Southern cuisine here from New Orleans. The mint juleps shall flow.
  • Barleymash, Gaslamp Quarter – offers food and drink specials, a raffle and the annual “Best Dressed” contest. Pick the winning horse and be eligible to snag prizes including golf bags, cooler backpacks, Woodford Reserve gift baskets. Opens at 11 a.m. Saturday.
  • Monarch Ocean Pub, Del Mar – It’s a 21-and-up crowd for the derby with hosted food and drinks, live music, a fashion contest and contest prizes too. Tickets cost $100.

Finally, go to Balboa Park hungry at 11 a.m. Sunday when the House of Pacific Relations hosts its 40th annual ethnic food fair at the International Cottages. It’s not just Mexican food here – try the varied cuisines and look for almost 20 cultural performances too.