Oakland to host 1st taco, walking tour for Cinco de Mayo weekend

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Cinco de Mayo may officially fall on May 5, but Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood intends to celebrate on Saturday, May 8, with mariachis and a first-ever public taco tour.

Vibrant colors and mouthwatering aromas of local Mexican food have set the stage for cultural rebirth this year in Fruitvale.

"We have a lot of people from Guatemala, and El Salvador, and the Middle East," says Maria Sanchez of The Unity Council. "It's not totally Latino."

WATCH: What most Mexican Americans want you to know about Cinco de Mayo
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Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays in the U.S. known for its commercial marketing appeal. But most Mexican Americans want to set the record straight. May 5 does not mark their independence and getting drunk is not part of their celebration.



"I feel very happy because with the pandemic last year we are home, lonely," Sanchez adds. "Our culture likes to be together and celebrate, so we are inviting everyone to come on Saturday to celebrate mother's' day and Cinco de Mayo."

Mariachis will roam stretches of International Boulevard.

Organizers hope outsiders will explore the rich neighborhood food culture of the district.

Tour guide Acacia Woods Chan looks forward to showing guests around her local haunts.

"We are going to be hosting the Un-Cinco de Mayo taco/Fruitvale walking tour and this is a two hour walking tour," Woods Chan says. "People are definitely going to be able to try some of these taco spots that are some of our favorite taquerias."

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This first-ever public taco tour in Fruitvale is already sold out, with both out-of-town tourists and Oakland residents signing up.

The tour will include contextualizing neighborhood history, like the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Bart station.

The hope is for Fruitvale to become safer and more walkable for residents, and more fascinating for visitors.

"This is our opening back up after a year of sheltering in place we've had," says Jean Paul Zapata with Visit Oakland. "So we've invited community members and Oakland residents to come to Fruitvale. Particularly our businesses of color have been hit so hard by the pandemic we want to do everything we can to support them."

Lots of hope is in the air, fueled by those tantalizing tacos.
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