For 31 years, the first weekend of May has been a celebration of Mexican culture in the Springs.

This year, the Cinco De Mayo Luncheon Celebration on Friday and the Fiesta and Car Show on Saturday explore and celebrate different facets of Mexico's culture and history. The May 5 holiday commemorates the 1862 victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, which proved a defining moment in Mexico's struggle for nationalism.

"It wasn't a significant battle in history," says Carmen Abeyta, former chairperson of El Cinco De Mayo Inc. "It's just a reason to celebrate the culture. The Mexican army was not supposed to win, but because they strategized and didn't give up, it gives a message for life in general. When things seem rough, you keep persevering and take the faith that things will get better and you can succeed."

Shayla Rivera will speak at the luncheon. The former NASA aerospace engineer - turned comedian, motivational speaker and actress - will share her success story, Abeyta says.

For years, the fiesta was held outdoors in Memorial Park, but the event was snowed out twice in five years. So for the second year, Saturday's festivities will be held indoors at the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center.

There will be a $2 admission charge to the Fiesta and Car Show this year - a first. All of the proceeds go toward scholarships for high school seniors applying to college and those in college.

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270,


Luncheon: With guest speaker Shayla Rivera, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Hotel Elegante, 2886 S. Circle Drive, $55-$60;

Fiesta and Car Show: With Sierra Gold Band, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Freedom Financial Services Expo Center, 3650 N. Nevada Ave., $2, free ages 12 and younger;


Other events

A Night of Spoken Word, featuring Andrea Gibson - With Nicole Wilkinson, Denali Gillaspie and Susan Peiffer, 8 p.m. Friday, Ivywild School, 1604 S. Cascade Ave., $10-$12;,