Why was this event started?

When the first organized Roseland Cinco de Mayo event was held in 2006, it replaced several years of negative confrontations between local law enforcement and spontaneous Cinco de Mayo revelers.  Since then, the success of Roseland Cinco de Mayo has helped bolster the idea that the urban eye-sore at Sebastopol Road and West Avenue can be transformed into a thriving neighborhood center.

Today with more than 50,000 attendees under its belt, the Cinco de Mayo festival is an example of how the Roseland community has come together to deliver a non-alcoholic, family-friendly atmosphere that continues to attract wider attention throughout the county and state.

The one-day festival features local entertainment, fun for the kids, informational booths, plenty of food choices, crowning the “Reina del Cinco de Mayo”, Rosie the Trolley shuttling guests to and from the Cinco de Mayo event, and an awesome low-rider car show.

About Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Although the Mexican Army was eventually defeated, the victory at Puebla over French occupiers has become a symbol of Mexican patriotism.

Though it is a minor holiday in most of Mexico, the celebration has become the most significant cultural celebration for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States.

Celebrating change for the good

May 8, 2013, 12:29 PM

On the day after Cinco de Mayo in 2005, the Press Democrat featured a Page 1 picture of a 17-year-old boy hurling a piece of concrete at police officers in Roseland. Other pictures showed phalanxes of cops in riot gear using smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse crowds of angry youth.

On the day after Cinco de Mayo this week, the Press Democrat featured a Page 1 picture of a 2-year-old girl playing with a borrowed trumpet in Roseland. Another picture showed a sea of happy, laughing faces reacting to the antics of a clown.

What a difference a few years can make.

It's important to remember that, not so long ago, Cinco de Mayo was a dangerous, violent night in Santa Rosa. It's important to know that today it is a celebration in which 10,000 people gather peacefully in the streets to celebrate culture and community. read more

In the News

Excerpt from the Santa Rosa Police Department's 2014 submission for consideration of national James Q. Wilson award:

“One very tangible example of increased safety is the decrease in violence during the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. With much enhanced community involvement this formerly violent night has transformed into a vibrant and positive annual celebratory event. Residents and law enforcement came together to find and create a solution, one that has transformed Cinco de Mayo in Santa Rosa into a family-friendly festival.  A local newspaper, The Press Democrat, reported: 

“This week, when 10,000 people came from all over Sonoma County and beyond to gather in the streets of Roseland, they enjoyed music and food and dancing and fun. The air smelled of pupusas, not tear gas.” 

In 2013, Calls for Police Service during peak Cinco de Mayo hours dropped 39% from the 2003 levels. Over the same period, reported incidents dropped 44% and arrests were down 43% and officers assigned to cover the Cinco de Mayo event dropped from 123 in 2003 to just 21.”

10,000 gather in Roseland for Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2013, 8:34 PM

Each year, people all over the United States and Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo to commemorate the 1862 Battle of Puebla, during which out-numbered Mexican forces defeated the French Army, setting the stage for Mexico's eventual triumph over France. Often confused with Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of Mexico's struggle against French Imperialism.

Delectable wafts of grilled meats, candy corn and spices swirled around the heart of Santa Rosa's Roseland neighborhood Sunday.

The annual Cinco de Mayo celebration once again transformed the old Albertsons parking lot on Sebastopol Road into a festival of more than 10,000 people celebrating the food, dance and cultures of Mexico.

"Cinco de Mayo is a day when we all get to celebrate our culture, more than any other day," said Fernanda Diaz, 16, of Santa Rosa, a junior at Roseland University Prep. read more