For more than 30 years, the Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association has hosted a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta that has become one of the largest multicultural celebrations in Oregon. Returning May 1–3, 2020, the fiesta boasts three full days packed with festivities and culturally immersive programming at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. During the event, festival-goers can experience the spirit of Mexico through music, arts, dance and sport.
Portland’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta began in 1983, the same year that Guadalajara, Mexico, became one of Portland’s nine international sister cities. As a direct result, a strong sense of cultural exchange continues to drive the activities and nonprofit collaborations of the festival.
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Entertainment
Entertainment options at Portland’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta abound for all ages and interests, including classic carnival rides (including Portland’s tallest ferris wheel), snacks, singing contests and lucha libre (Mexican wrestling). The Plaza de Niños provides a safe, kid-oriented zone with free face painting (for children under 12 years old), arts and crafts and a play area.
Mexico’s rich musical history has birthed many genres and continues to cultivate new sounds. Accordingly, Portland’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta organizers have continually and expertly curated acts to reflect this diversity. Mariachi Ciudad de Guadalajara fly in from the state of Jalisco to give several special performances on the festival’s main stage. Joining them is Oregon’s Ballet Folklorico Mexico en la Piel, a local Mexican folk dancing troupe.
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Activities and Arts
Amateur boxing matches have been a tradition since 2013, featuring athletes from Rip City Boxing, a local nonprofit that fosters youth through the discipline and accountability of sport.
When you’re ready to find the perfect tin milagro heart for your home, head to the fiesta’s artisan village. There, you will discover works by dozens of local and international artists and makers.
Food and Drink at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
Last but not least, it wouldn’t be a proper Mexican celebration without options for ample feasting! Over twenty local food and beverage stands line the waterfront, serving up regional and traditional Mexican dishes, along with pupusas from El Salvador; empanadas and arepas from Venezuela and Colombia; cups of fresh fruit with chili and lime; elotes, chicharrones and freshly-made churros; and tacos filled with tinga, carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, lengua and more.
Beer and tequila drinks are also available for adults, along with horchatas, tejuínos and aguas frescas. And with many options for public transportation, you can feel free to safely indulge.
Upcoming Dates & Times
- May 1
With a neighborhood grocery, meat market, coffee shop, food cart pod and more, the Mercado is one of the city’s most delicious destinations.
Local diners can order up a wealth of delicious taco variations, from meaty morsels to vegetarian creations made with mushrooms, cactus and scrambled egg.
Enjoy Portland's Hispanic and Latinx culture year-round.