IMPACT: Celebrating a community Cinco de Mayo at the Count Basie Center (Gallery)


With the scent of mole poblano and gorditas in the air and the sound of Banda, Latin dance hits and mariachi filling the room, hundreds gathered at The Vogel Sunday night for the Count Basie Center’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration – this year, presented as a tardeada, or dance party.

The event, a culturally authentic celebration of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at Puebla, featured Aztec and Mexican folkloric dancers, live music, artisans, and a bevy of food vendors from area restaurants like Red Bank’s Azteca Grill and Asbury Park’s Mayan Restaurant and Tik Taco Taqueria.

“I come from Puebla, so this day is significant to me,” said Mateo Mendez of La Mixteca Banquetes, which helped supply entertainment for the event. “The reason I’m involved is… this is my people, my culture, my community.”

“As soon as I walked in, and I see the three colors of my flag, and I see different people of different cultures here to celebrate, my heart starts popping. It’s wonderful.”

“Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is special to the Mexican community, especially the large population of poblanos (Pueblans) in the area,” said Xavier Rodriguez, who operates the Mayan and Tik Taco restaurants. “This day is a reminder of the strength we have when we come together to face the obstacles in front of us.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity the Basie Center has provided to be a part of this special day,” he added. “It was our first time here and we hope there are more events like these where we can celebrate different cultures together.”


Cinco De Mayo 5.5.2024