Cinco de Mayo fiestas are Americanization at its finest.
Americanization clue No. 1: Most Americans who plan to celebrate don’t even know what Cinco de Mayo honors. Sadly, Americans notoriously mix up Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day. They’re not even closely related—except for the Spanish words. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Batalla de Puebla, when the Mexican Army defeated the French.
Americanization clue No. 2: Tacos, margaritas and mariachi bands basically sum up Mexican culture. Right.
Americanization clue No. 3: People in Mexico don’t celebrate it with the intensity that Americans do. Es verdad, Cinco de Mayo is a bigger deal among Mexican-Americans than it is for people south of the border. At least Americans know how to throw awesome themed parties. Here are a few:
Cinco de Mayo Outdoor Fiesta: Featuring music by the Cheeseballs and the Hits. There also will be a mariachi band, outdoor bars and mechanical bulls. Begins at 3 p.m. $20 at the door. The Bloc, 28th and J streets; www.paragarys.com.
HOT 103 Cinco de Mayo Fiesta: Live performances by B.O.B., Mike Posner, Spanish rock band La Sabina and mariachi band Los Gavilanez. Also featuring MC Magic and Frankie Quinones from the Chicano Kings of Comedy. There also will be a margarita and beer garden. Fiesta begins at 4 p.m. $15 advance, $20 at the door, $40 for VIP. Fugu Lounge, 2071 Natomas Crossing Drive; (916) 515-1958.
Firedance Bar and Grille: There will be a mariachi band, custom cars on display, a beer garden and, even better, cheap tacos. Begins at 11 a.m. Cover is $5. 8704 La Riviera Drive, (916) 363-1997.
Tres Agaves: There will be live entertainment, a deejay, salsa dancing and margaritas. Begins at 5 p.m. $5. 1182 Roseville Parkway, at the Fountains at Roseville; (916) 782-4455; www.tresagaves.com.