2012 Top 7 Cities with Cinco de Mayo Festivals & Parties


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the victory at the Battle of Puebla where heavily outnumbered Mexican forces conquered the French on May 5, 1862.  Jacquie Downey, Director of Sales and Marketing at Shindigz, a leading source for Cinco de Mayo party supplies says, “Today, Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States at colorful festivals, parades, home gatherings, and classroom parties.”

Shindigz identified seven cities, which rank high in the following criteria for outstanding Cinco de Mayo parties and festivals:

  •  Growth- The city’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is up and coming.
  •  Authenticity- The city’s festivals include authentic elements of celebration and history.
  •  Food- The is food unique, plentiful, and tasty.
  •  Activities- Varieties of activities and entertainment exist for all ages.
  •  Worth the Drive- The city’s event is worth a 30-minute drive or more to attend.

The following top 7 places represent some of the best, 2012 Cinco de Mayo festivals and events:

#7 Puebla, Mexico – Festival Internacional 5 de Mayo

The home of the battle, Puebla, Mexico is going all out to celebrate the 150th anniversary. The festival has begun and continues through the holiday weekend. A highlight is the Mole Poblano festival on May 2 – 3, featuring the traditional sauce of chocolate and 20 plus ingredients.

#6 San Marcos, Texas – VIVA! Cinco de Mayo

This gateway to the Texas hill country hosts the 38th annual festival known for its parade, Little Miss and Miss Cinco de Mayo pageants, music, and Folklorico dancers.  Catch the annual Texas Statewide Menudo Cook-Off. This soup of tripe, hominy and chili is cooked for hours and thought by many to be the elusive hangover cure.

 #5 Chicago, Illinois –  Cinco de Mayo Festival and Parade

Chicago knows how to throw a party!  Held over three days this year, the downtown parade and Douglas Park festival will draw more than 100,000 (some claim 200,000) partiers throughout the weekend.

 

 #4 San Antonio, Texas – Cinco de Mayo at Historic Market + Luminaria 2012

World famous for its Riverwalk, San Antonio hosts two major events over the holiday. The traditional weekend celebration held at the historic Market Square features Mariachis, Tejano and Conjunto music plus cultural dances and food. Added this year is Luminaria 2012, San Antonio’s celebration of arts and artists. Over 300,000 people are expected to be a part of these events.

#3 New York City – Street Fairs and Pub Crawls

New York’s East Harlem’s street fair is one of many Cinco de Mayo highlights. Want pub crawls? NYC’s crawls over the weekend are large and many. You’re sure to find your celebration in this city that never sleeps.

 #2 Denver, Colorado – Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” Festival

Over 400,000 attend this mile-high celebration over the weekend. Mexican music, food, and arts highlight this two day party in the Rockies. Need we say more?

 

 

 #1 Los Angeles, California – Fiesta Broadway Festival

Regarded as the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world, over 500,000 are predicted to make their way to downtown LA for music, food and games. This year the 23rd annual Fiesta Broadway is on Saturday, April 29.

Celebrate with Your Own Cinco de Mayo Party

Not traveling? Host your own celebration with friends. Fiesta Table Decorations set the mood for party and Fiesta Lantern Garland brings color and hot pepper accents to the room.

Top Five Summer Party Ideas


School’s out!  Party on!  The best part of summer is relaxation in the warm weather, so why not create a few fun summer parties for all your friends to enjoy?  Take advantage of the warm weather and plan a few outdoor parties!  The easiest way to do so is by picking a theme and simply altering your party just enough for the theme to work outdoors rather than indoors.  Here are a few ideas:

1.) Luau Summer Pool Party:   Break out the bathing suits, Hawaiian shirts, leis, and grass skirts!  What better way to ring in summer than with a pool party?  Provide all your guests with a coconut cup filled with a tropical punch-flavored slushy drink and at least one lei to throw around their neck.   In addition to those fun luau favors, give your female guests grass skirts and flowers to put in their hair!  Scatter a few palm tree coolers around your yard to give guests a place to find more cold beverages once their slushy drink is gone.  What are your options if you don’t have a pool?  Use a sprinkler and your garden hose!

2.) Backyard Summer Barbecue:  While, yes, it seems to go hand-in-hand with the luau pool party, it’s just different enough to be a second great summer party.  Plan a menu first: pulled pork sandwiches (barbecue or not), corn (on or off the cob), and fruit would make a great, summery combination.  Decorate your tables with a classic barbecue red gingham table cover and provide fun plates, napkins, and utensils.  Then, as your guests sit at their tables to enjoy their food, serve another cool summer treat: a sherbet float in a goblet with a fun squiggle straw!  Just pour lemon-lime soda over two or three scoops of rainbow sherbet ice cream.  It’s a fun, fruity twist on a classic summer favorite, the root beer float.

3.) Fifties Drive-in Summer Picnic:  This is where the classic root beer floats and black cows (a cola poured over vanilla ice cream) from the fifties come into play!  Decorate your tables with a float candle and serve your guests both yummy ice cream beverage in classic soda shop glass that your guests can take home as a fun summer favor.  A few other great favor ideas are plush dice that your guests can hang from their rearview mirrors (especially if they have fun, old-fashioned cars that they’ve worked to restore), classic black sunglasses for the men, and diamond cat sunglasses for the women.

4.) Carnival Summer Party:  Summertime equals festivals, parades, theme parks, and carnivals!  Every teenager looks forward to a summer trip to a theme park to ride roller coasters and eat the amazing junk food that appears at every theme park across America.  Why not bring a fun, carnival-like junk food alley to your backyard?  When your guests arrive at your party, greet them at the entrance and place a sparkly wrist band on them so they can feel like it’s a private carnival rather than simply a summer carnival party.  Also, give each guest a carnival favor box that they can decorate to hold their candy as they play games.  Plan a wide variety of carnival games for every guest to participate in.  When it comes to thinking of prizes for the games, hand out candy at each game booth.  Keep a concession stand open for your guest to come find food and snacks, such as banana splits in dessert servers and popcorn in popcorn bags.

5.)  Pirate Summer Party: This will give your guests a bit of a twist on a classic summer beach party.  When you send out party invitations, include a note that requests your guests to attend in a pirate costume—this is a great way to have a costume party in the summertime!  Invite your guests to participate in a treasure hunt, with rewards along the way.  Then, give them pirate pouches to keep those rewards (or their pirate booty) in.  At the end, when your guests get to the treasure chest, they can arrive to find it filled with yummy ice cream treats and popsicles!  A word to the wise: wait as long as possible to hide this.  Send your guests on a wild goose chase to the front of the house, thinking you hid the treasure there. Then, when they get back to the central party area and see the chest, they’ll be shocked!

There are many other ways to ring in summer and many other fun summer party ideas to plan.  Just remember the keys of summer and your planning will go easier: fun games, warm weather, and cool frozen treats will make your friends and guests love every summer party that you host.

Six Popular Adult Party Themes


It doesn’t matter how busy your life gets, you always have to remember to take time to relax ad unwind with your friends.  Right about the time the adult world hits and work bogs you down and perhaps even college classes take their toll on your sanity, that’s when you need to step back, request a day off, and plan a fun get-together with your friends. (You might want to tell those friends to request a day off work, also.)  While there are many themes to choose from for your party, here are six great, popular party ideas for you to start with.

  1. Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Party:  With Cinco de Mayo rapidly approaching, start planning a fun fiesta for you and your friends!  Display cute fiesta candles all around your house or backyard, wherever you’re throwing your fiesta party.  If you choose to decorate your backyard, pick up a fiesta decorating kit to make your party planning that much easier.  Plan on serving chips, salsa, and salsa con queso for your guests to snack on.  Also, would it be a Cinco de Mayo party without drinks? Pick up margarita mix and daiquiri mix, but add fruit juice rather than alcohol for a fun, fruity summer mocktail—this way, your guests get the feeling of margaritas, but everyone stays safe for the entire day.  Serve those delicious mocktails in bright-colored margarita glasses to add to the fiesta-feeling of the day!
  2. Poker Night Party:  Who doesn’t love a nice, relaxing poker night?  It’s a night for you and all your friends to dress down, get away from work, and play some cards to relax.  While it doesn’t seem like something you really need to decorate for, the decorations are usually half the fun of a party.  Place a sign in your yard so friends who haven’t been over in awhile know right away which house is yours.  Decorate the game room with clear bulb lights to give the room a relaxed, fun feeling.  Designate a table to the side of the room as the snack table—cover it with a green tablecloth and then sprinkle it with blackjack confetti.  Invite your guests to partake in a potluck and have everyone bring a snack for the group to enjoy.   By the end of your relaxing poker night, hopefully everyone will have won some fun prizes and enjoyed some great food.
  3. Movie Night:  Make some popcorn, call your friends, and pick a few movies to watch!  Conduct a small survey of your friends prior to movie night to find out what genre everyone wants to watch—this way, you’ll know what extra funky decorations you can add, like cardboard standees of Marilyn Monroe, plus you’ll be able to pick out a few movies for your guests to choose from.  Offer up the following genres: horror, comedy, old Hollywood, and musical.  That way, the guys you invite won’t hear “romance” or “romantic comedy” and back out.  The next step is to put together little snack bags filled with candy for your guests to enjoy during the movie(s).  Finally, plan on providing soda and popcorn for your guests (hey, it gives you a reason to buy popcorn containers).
  4. Football Party:  Take a Sunday or a Monday off and plan a football party!  Get all the classic game day snacks: pretzels, potato chips, salsa, queso, and maybe even cook some hot dogs and hamburgers!  Set up a table with a serving tray so your guests can easily pick and choose what they want to snack on—and place some mug-shaped candles in the center.  Also, set up an inflatable mug-shaped cooler for your guests to grab beverages out of.  Give your guests foam footballs to toss around during commercials—but make sure any breakables are out of the room!  Place football-shaped mylar balloons and bunches of colored latex balloons around the room to give it that final, finished touch.
  5. Girlfriend Party:  Get all your girlfriends together for a girls’ night in!  A great way to relax with the girls is by putting in a romantic comedy, kicking back on the couch, and diving into some popcorn, chocolate, and girl talk.  Just remember, you can’t have a girls’ night without a lot of candy—chocolate lollipops, candy bars, and other types.  This also sets you up for adorable favors, like compacts, coasters, and mint tins.  Make the night memorable for your girlfriends!
  6. 80’s Party:  Create a fun, throw-back party by decorating around an 80’s party theme!  You can have all sorts of fun, dress up in 80’s attire and blast Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper on your stereo.  It’s all about neon colors, so bunch bright balloons together all around the room.  Hang a door cover on your front door to help set the mood for your guests.  This blast-from-the-past party is sure to make your guests feel like they stepped into a time machine, but a dance party will definitely help them relax!

Whatever theme you might choose, the main thing to remember is to not stress about the party planning.  Your guests will love to be able to just have a time to get away from their crazy, hectic, adult lives and have a little fun again.

Planning for the Annual Block Party


Welcome Warm Weather with a Block Party

As the weather warms up, many people start getting the urge to shift their free-time activities outdoors.  Cold winter weather often causes people to go slightly stir crazy, especially when the first warm day hits.  What better way to welcome spring and summer than with a block party?  Whether you plan a block party every year or this is your first (hopefully of many), there are many ways to make your planning easier.

Quick and Easy Block Party Planning

Turn your yard (and your neighbors’ yards) into one big picnic site.  Yes, many block parties are cookouts, but people usually plan to bring table and chairs.  Why not simply throw some blankets on the grass and allow your kids to eat while sitting on the ground?  Also, it gives you the chance to enjoy the simplicity that is a picnic—when is the last time you (or your kids) went on a picnic?  Can you think of a better way to ring in spring than with a picnic?  To make your picnic block party fun and slightly whimsical, find red gingham table covers and use those as your picnic blankets!  The fun part here is that your kids might be slightly confused while they watch Mom roll red and white plastic onto the ground.  Then, begin to set out plates and napkins—take this chance to try eco-friendly tableware.  Why not?  They even come in a picnic kit!  Either assign specific people to bring certain foods or just call it a potluck and have everyone bring something.  The men could have a grilling competition and the kids could decorate aprons for their dads.

Block Party Activity Planning

Every party needs a game!  Your block party could use a few games, too.  Definitely pick out a piñata, because there is nothing quite as entertaining as watching kids scramble around for candy once the piñata bursts open.  You can look into card games, too—Uno is always a favorite!  Also, try to plan a few sports-related games just for fun for your party guests that are in the pre-teen age range.  Go for a bean bag toss and plan a pick-up game of basketball or soccer.

Gather your neighbors to help you welcome spring and summer with a huge block party!  Relax with a picnic, enjoy the outdoors that you’ve been kept away from all winter.  Have fun with your neighbors and make some new friends—you could even get a jump start on planning your next block party!

Relaxing Father’s Day Party Ideas


Time to Plan Your Relaxing Father’s Day Party

With Father’s Day slowly approaching (it’s June 17th), it’s definitely time to start planning a fun party.  To show the special Dad in your life just how much he means to you, plan a nice, relaxing Father’s Day party.  Because you have a lot of time to plan (at least, you have a lot of time if you start planning now), you can choose from a wide variety of parties.  Generally, most people plan a fun backyard barbecue for Father’s Day. This year, try pulling out other ideas—look at your dad’s favorite sports.  No matter what sport he follows the most, there are all sorts of party ideas buried.

Relaxing Father’s Day Backyard Barbecue

The standard fun party idea for Father’s Day is a cookout.  While dads are usually the grill men, give him the option this year.  Either let Mom cook, or (if he wants to) give Dad his place at the grill.  The catch this year is that Dad has to wear a chef’s hat and an apron decorated by his loving family.

When you start planning what food will be appearing at your Father’s Day backyard barbecue, think about your dad’s favorite foods.  Pick his favorite main dish, a few of his favorite sides, and make his favorite dessert.  If he wants to be a part of the food preparation (if he maybe has a new seasoning he wants to try or something along those lines) and the cooking, let him.  Don’t refuse to let him be a part of the fun.  It’s his day; he can do whatever he wants!

Father’s Day Sports Party

If your dad wants to just sit and watch sports for awhile on Father’s Day, let him!  Suggest that he invite a few other dads and guys over to join him!  However, after a few hours, try to remind him that he needs to get up and about, maybe go outside and get some fresh air.  The catch is: while he’s been sitting inside watching sports with his friends, you and the kids have been outside, maybe conspiring with the families of the friends he’s watching sports with, and decorate your backyard before beckoning Dad outside.  Watch his face when he walks into a backyard sports party!  Whether his favorite sport is baseball, basketball, football, golf, or racing, he’ll be shocked to see his backyard transformed into a Father’s Day party place!  Even within each of those Father’s Day party themes, there are other choices to be had: use his favorite team as a jumping-off point; pick either car racing or the Kentucky derby; you can even plan activities for the party!  Remember, though, it’s your job to make sure it’s a relaxing day for the dad in your life as well as a chance for you and your family to show him how much you love him.  Happy Father’s Day party planning!

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