Cinco de Mayo Street Festival was ‘priceless’
Courtesy photos Gene Ortega, left, took first place in the car show seen here with OptiMystics Citizens Action Network President Adam Lock and Roy Aiken of the OptiMystics CAN at the Cinco de Mayo Street Festival in Monte Vista. Smoky the Bear takes a photo with people at the Cinco de Mayo Street Festival in Monte Vista on Friday, May 5. Monte the Cowboy was set up at Cinco de Mayo Street Festival on Friday, May 5, in Monte Vista. Kids from Kids Connection attended the Cinco de Mayo Street Festival in Monte Vista.
MONTE VISTA — Between 1,500 and 2,000 people attended the third annual Monte Vista Cinco de Mayo Street Festival on Friday, May 5, in Downtown Monte Vista. The event was organized by the OptiMystics Citizens Action Network.
“This was the Downtown kickoff event for 2023, that we strove for, with crowd estimates of 1,500-plus,” said Adam Lock, president of the OptiMystics CAN. “To everyone who helped make this street festival possible, the LOR Foundation, Wayne’s Print Ship, H&R Block, the City of Monte Vista, and so many more, thank you! Watching our city center come alive with celebratory activity was priceless. What a blessing gathering to embrace the culture and diversity of our historic town.”
The street festival continues to grow. It had a deejay, over 60 vendors, live music performers, belly dancers, a car show and much more. The City of Monte Vista's own Monte the Cowboy balloon was set up in the middle of Adams Street.
Hundreds of people sat at tables and walked down Adams Street for the busy event, enjoying eats from the food vendors, and looking at the car show entries that were parked on the south side of the festival. Kids ran up and down the streets with snow cones and candy in hand as people purchased from many of the vendors at the show.
The festival ran from 11 a.m. and wrapped up close to 8 p.m. with an afterparty at Rain Brews.
Residents throughout the San Luis Valley attended the event, along with people from outside of the region, including a woman from Washington, D.C. — Sandra Pearson.
Pearson has family in the Valley and when they told her about the festival, she decided to travel to Monte Vista for the event.
“My family told me, we know you love to travel, see sights, different people, come check this out," Pearson said. “I try to come this way at least once a year, and I specifically came to see all of this. I am very impressed with everything I see. This town appears to take pride in what you all are doing here. Would I come again? Absolutely. Good job Monte Vista! Thanks for inviting me.”
Wayne Pacheco of Widowmaker Apparel was at the festival. He sponsored the car show and gave cash prizes to its winners, along with also selling Monte Vista t-shirts complete with a sombrero in the corner and a pirate logo on the sombrero in honor of the Monte Vista Pirates.
Pacheco made over $1,000 on his t-shirts and donated all the proceeds to the Bill Metz Student Council.
“It was a fun time,” Pacheco said. “We are very fortunate to have such a supportive community. I wouldn’t have been able to help if it wasn’t for the business we get from the locals. Thank you to everyone who helped make it a success.”
The big winners of the car show were announced around 5 p.m. with Gene Ortega taking first place, Ivan Wright taking second place, and Doug Haller taking third place.
Ortega was excited to win stating, “Wow, this is just great. Having fun and being a part of this community is what it’s all about.”
Wright, who took second place, said that it was his first time at the festival.
“This was awesome, lots of cool stuff here. I worked on my vehicle myself. It’s a 1948 Ford. I am from Center, and I am so glad that I came,” Wright said.
Haller who took third place said, “It’s an honor to win. This was my dad’s car; this car is in memory of him, his picture is on the back seat. I am really excited about winning. Anytime you can win it feels good.”
City Councilwoman Martha Lock was impressed by the scenery.
“I heard so much laughter, saw so many smiles, and was delighted to see so many children singing and laughing. People dancing the streets, it was a happy sight,” she said.
For more information on the event and the OptiMystics, visit OptiMystics.org.