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Cape Coral celebrates Cinco de Mayo

By Staff | May 3, 2009

Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin led his 4,500-man militia against a larger 6,500-man French army at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. He successfully stopped the attempted invasion of his country in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, according to MEXonline.com.
The French later overthrew the Mexican army and invaded Mexico City, but Zaragoza’s earlier victory led to the country’s regionalized celebration many around the globe still partake in today, Cinco de Mayo, the Web site states.
Cape Coral is, of course, no exception.
Although, notably, the Cape celebrated a few days early Saturday night–segundo de Mayo–an expected 8,000 to 10,000 people came out to have fun in the spirit of the Mexican culture for the 2009 Cinco de Mayo Festival.
The City of Cape Coral and the Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce teamed up to make the event a memorable one, by serving up traditional Mexican dishes and filling the air with latin tunes from recording artist Valerie Morales.
Local restaurants also partook in a chips and salsa contest, judged by event-goers who had a chance to taste the special recipes.
Chile Ranchero of Fort Myers was announced as the winner of the contest shortly after 7:30 p.m.
The restaurant, which has been in business for about 6 years, served their mild, hot and fire sauces to tingle the Cape’s taste buds.
“Everything is homemade,” said Maria Mereno, who works at the restaurant. “This is the first event that we’ve attended and we are really happy. We want to say we’re appreciative of everyone who voted for us.”
Mereno said it might’ve been their home style authentic taste that won over the tongues of Cape Coral. But aside from chips and salsa, Chile Ranchero is also known for having the best guacamole in town, as well as tasty fajitas and Camaron Costena, she said.
Others who participated in the contest include El Azteca Taqueria and Taco Pancho of Cape Coral; Lozano’s Mexican Restaurant of Lehigh Acres; Mister Chile Restaurant of Bonita Springs; and Bajio Mexican Grill, Cantina Laredo and Salsa Restaurant & Lounge of Fort Myers.
The festivities ran from about 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Southeast 47th Terrace, with many sponsors including Embarq, SunTrust, Jetblue Airways, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Univision, Telemundo and FOX4.