Happy Cinco de Mayo! Commemoration of the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 has never been cause for celebration in Mexico other than in the state of Puebla. But did you know that the Mexican community celebrated it in Ventura County starting in the late 19th century? 

Mexicans living in Ventura County always celebrated Mexican Independence Day on September 16th. Beginning in the early 1890’s the Mexican population in Ventura County wanted to celebrate another event that would make their community distinct. They longed to create events that were symbols of the patriotism that would keep their community unified. Out of this need, came the celebration of a minor event: Cinco de Mayo.

These photos taken in the Mexican barrio (neighborhood) in Fillmore show parade floats getting ready to roll down Central Avenue, the downtown business area. The two smaller photos are from a 1928 parade and include a float by one of the local Mexican baseball teams. The larger photo taken by a Santa Paula-based photographer, Villalpando Studios, shows the Cinco de Mayo queen and her court, sponsored by the local chapter of a Mexican mutual aid society. 

These photographs are promised gifts to the Museum of Ventura County’s Research Library. View all of the photos at the social media links below.

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