See dancing like this at the Cinco de Mayo Carnival at the Multicultural Center Saturday, May 5. 

You don’t have to be of Mexican descent to come to the Cinco de Mayo Carnival Saturday, May 5.

In fact, organizers hope people from all backgrounds and heritages show up to celebrate.

Oh, and they want you to come in costume.

So get those party hats and dresses out – or whatever speaks to where you come from. (Germans, that means Lederhosen!).

The carnival, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., will be at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center, 156 N. 100 West, for the first time.

In the past, the multicultural center has held the Cinco de Mayo celebration elsewhere – at Swanny City Park or the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.

But after a gala at the center last fall went off without a hitch, organizers decided to host Cinco de Mayo there, too.

“That put us in the mind that we should have things at the center,” said organizer Marcia Tendick. “We don’t need to go anywhere else.”

Come to the event to check it out and soak in the ambience for free (or a $5 suggested donation). Bring your dollars to play carnival games such as toss the ring on a soda bottle or break the balloon with a dart.

Authentic Mexican meals will be available for $10 a plate. Attendees will enjoy homemade Mexican tacos and chicken mole.

Also at the fiesta will be Baile folkloric dance performances, piñatas for children and more. 

If enough people enter the cultural heritage costume contest, Tendick said they’ll use some of the performance time – from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – for people to model their costumes and talk about their heritage.

A small crew of about four volunteers have spent the past three months organizing the celebration.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day in 1862 when a ragtag army of Mexican forces in Puebla won a battle against the French forces of Emperor Napoleon III. He had plans to create a French empire. 

People should come “to have fun and to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which is a really important event,” Tendick said. “Thanks to that pretty rag-tag group of people in Puebla, we stopped the French. They had big plans. We could all be speaking French now. They were a gift for the whole two continents.”

A free salsa demonstration is planned for 7:45 p.m., and a dj will spin music after that.

The event is sponsored by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

Tendick said she’s hoping to see as many as 300 to 400 people attend.

“I just think it will be really interesting to see the variety of costumes,” she said. “I know some of the Mexican families are planning some pretty elaborate costumes that represent a lot of places. That will be a whole new aspect.”