The El Cinco de Mayo festivities turned 30 with a colorful flair.
Over the years, the first weekend in May's opening night banquet/scholarship fundraiser has added more and more elements - including an art show, VIP speaker, silent auction and dancing that goes into the wee hours.
Helping make the May 4 "Mi Gente, Cultura y Arte" celebration at the Crowne Plaza (newly named Hotel Elegante' Conference & Event Center) even more special was keynote speaker and actor Tony Plana, an Emmy winner for his role as the father, Ignacio Suarez, in the TV series "Ugly Betty."
Born in Havana, Cuba, Plana grew up in Miami but trained as a thespian at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Gamers knew his voice as Manny Calavera in the Lucasarts adventure game "Grim Fandango."
Banquet sponsors included Noticias Univision Colorado, Colorado College, Ent Federal Credit Union, The Gazette, Colorado Springs Utilities, ERA Shields Real Estate, ANB Bank, Security Service Federal Credit Union, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Wal-Mart, Pikes Peak Library District and the Bee Vradenburg Foundation.
The traditional Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and Car Show was May 5 at a packed Freedom Financial Expo Center.