Knoxville seems to have become quite taken with the celebration of various international holidays. Of course on St. Patrick’s everyone in Knoxville becomes Irish. This past weekend everyone got in touch with their inner Mexican even while enjoying the Kentucky Derby. You get a pretty potent stew when you mix your Kentucky sippin’ whiskey with your Jose Cuervo with a little Dos Equis and Corona thrown in for good measure and topped with a pretty sombrero.
With so many things going on and such a great people watching opportunity, how is a blogger to narrow the information to one blog post? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask another blogger. This one has narrowed the photographs down to two posts. It was just too much fun. I did find a little Kentucky Derby action, but it was pretty hard to spot. The dominant hat of the day was clearly the sombrero.
Market Square has never looked more festive. I don’t remember seeing streamers criss-crossing the entire square quite that way before. The event was staged by Preservation Pub and Hola Hora Latina. I spotted Bernadette West hanging a pinata, and the stores on each side of the square got into the act, as well, even if some of their decorations left me a little confused: Cocoa Moon had balloons arranged in a green, white and red sequence, which I get. Still, I remember the green stars from St. Patrick’s Day and the red hearts from Valentine’s Day. I guess it’s called using what you’ve got.
Naturally, there was music. It started off with a Latin flair, which was a lot of fun, featuring Mexican instrumentation with a guitarron and a sharp looking trumpet player along in the band Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego featuring local front-woman Kukuly Uriarte who is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They had the crowd dancing, including at least one couple in which the male wore a distinctly Scottish kilt. I guess it’s all-American, right?
Of course, there were sombreros for sale, a Mexican booth which displayed examples of crafts from the country as well as an explanation of the true origins of the celebration and explaining that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican independence day. Also, reinforcing the Mexican theme were the two Mexican musician card-board cut-outs. Further confusing the theme was that blue leis were distributed to anyone who wanted them and I never found anyone who could tell me why leis were handed out on Cinco de Mayo. Still, people seemed to enjoy mixing the cultures all around and just having fun.
Children were also running all about, so it wasn’t all about the drink and song. Children played soccer, had their faces painted and especially seemed to enjoy the fountains. Some things just rise above culture and bring out the inner child in us all. Tomorrow more pictures and the conclusion of the day from this fun event.