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Columbia CA: Home Of First Cinco de Mayo Celebration

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The first documented US based Cinco de Mayo celebration was held 154 years ago in Columbia, California.

The former President of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Gary Neubert, was Thursday’s “Newsmaker of the Day”.

According to Neubert, that first celebration wasn’t even on the fifth of May. The news of the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, took a few weeks to finally reach the Mother Lode.

Once word reached Columbia, via newspapers from San Francisco, a spontaneous celebration broke out. The date was May 27th, 1862.

According to a paper published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture regarding the origin of the observance of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, “Far up in the gold country town of Columbia (now Columbia State Park) Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news that they spontaneously fired off rifle shots and fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made impromptu speeches.”

So will there be a celebration tonight for the 154th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo in Columbia?

Neubert said, “Not town-wide. We tried to stir interest a few years ago during the 150th anniversary and for the most part, people here today just don’t find it to be a big deal.”

So while there are large celebrations nationwide on this Thursday May 5th 2016, downtown Columbia itself (unlike 154 years ago) will likely remain fairly quiet tonight.

For more information about the Columbia Chamber and the numerous Chamber sponsored events that take place in Columbia log onto

You can also call (209) 536-1672.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.

  • Columbia
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