Cinco de Mayo celebration in midst of flu outbreak

By Philippe Djegal - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Cinco de Mayo doesn't start until Tuesday, but you could not tell by the large crowd at the East Texas fairgrounds in Tyler today. Event sponsors were worried some people would stay home because of the H1N1 virus and the potential of catching it in a large crowd, however, in the end, the people showed up.

The kids had a ball. They litterallly could not stop bouncing around. Although, the H1N1 virus has tempered large gatherings across the world, this group of East Texans thought celebrating Cinco de Mayo together was still important.

"People can get sick," said 20 year old Rebecca Perez. "But, it's also Cinco de Mayo. People want to have fun."

Marlene Crocker brought her 20 month old daughter to the celebration and says one of her family members in Mexico has been diagnosed with H1N1.

"One of my aunts has it right now," said Crocker. "My grandmother is with her in Mexico right now. So, I am real concerned about it."

"I feel like if you're up with you're immunizations and you're current with everything," said East Texan Ellen Gonzales. "Then, there's really no reason to worry."

Event sponsors were hoping people would show up.

"We have been keeping an eye close to the information from the health officals," said Juan Orvalle, Brisa Radio Network program director and a sponsor of the event.  "In fact, we have hand sanatizers for people coming here. We thought maybe people were scared and don't show up, but I think this is a big success."

While East Texans are taking extra precautions, they say Cinco de Mayo is more than just another holiday.

"I think it's very important to keep the family united. Hispanics, we are very proud of our families," said Orvalle. "We're very united and this is the most important for us."

Officials tell East Texas News that with all of the talk about the flu, this year's crowd may have been larger than last year's Cinco de Mayo celebration.

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