'It's like no other city': With comfort of vaccinations, SJ draws large Cinco de Mayo crowds

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose is known to draw large crowds for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. On Wednesday, many were determined to celebrate around people after more than a year under a pandemic.

By Wednesday night, there was a large police presence in parts of the city. ABC7 News received reports about sideshows and illegal fireworks.

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This evening activity was very different from what was seen just hours earlier- a lively crowd for Cinco de Mayo, centered in East San Jose.

"It gets lit over here," Ethan Calvario said. "It's like no other city."

ABC7 News met Calvario in a packed plaza near King and Story Roads on Wednesday afternoon. With Rachel Calvario and Alejandro Jimenez, he explained the location is a usual celebration hot spot.

There were many who filtered through the parking lot in the early evening- people dancing and making sure their Mexican pride was on full display.

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Visitors explained the celebration is a reflection of why the city is renowned for its celebrations.

"San Jose was born and bred on Mexicans in the farms and the orchards and all that kind of stuff," Richard Salazar, JR said. "And they're still here, thriving. So, I want to show our pride here."

For vendors, the holiday also meant some extra help with money they haven't been making because of the pandemic.

"Now that the pandemic has passed, it's been beautiful, it's been good," one vendor told ABC7 News.

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In the sea of sales, Santa Clara County Public Health also attempted to reach community members with a pop-up vaccination site.

"I got my shot, so I'm good to go," one visitor said.

Last year, ABC7 News was there as visitors packed in. Our cameras caught San Jose Police clearing the plaza. Keep in mind, the 2020 celebration happened under the state's stay-at-home order.

On Wednesday, people said after more than a year under the pandemic, they were ready to let loose. Many admitted they were prepared for a long night.

"Yes, they go to other places. And when they open up, they return," vendor, Miguel Lozano shared. "It'll be like that at 11 at night- 12 o'clock they return to Story and King Roads... everyone."

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