LAUGHLIN, Nevada – Thousands of Mexicans on the weekend commemorated El Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of Mexico’s 1862 victory over the French at Puebla, by turning out in this southern Nevada town with their families to enjoy the music of Ramon Ayala and Los Bravos del Norte.
At a concert in Laughlin, 140 km (90 mi.) south of Las Vegas in Nevada’s southern tip, the so-called “King of the accordion” – with his musical career of more than 50 years, several Grammy Awards and 105 albums – performed some of his classic numbers to the delight of his countrymen, who miss his iconic music living here in the United States.
A legend of the “norteño” genre, Ayala enthusiastically played “Chaparra de mi amor” and other hits accompanied at times by his son, Ramon Ayala Jr.
The concert drew many Mexican-born residents to Laughlin but also Mexican-Americans born in the United States flocked to the town from Arizona, California and elsewhere for a fun-filled weekend to celebrate the May 5 event.
The date has become a day of “Mexican pride” for those of Mexican heritage living in the United States, where many cities hold festivals and parades to commemorate the first Mexican victory over a foreign power.
“We came to see Ramon and Los Bravos, but we also want to enjoy the Cinco de Mayo festival, the city, to rest and have fun,” Lilian Garcia, who along with her family is spending the weekend in Laughlin, told Efe.
For years, this city on the Colorado River has offered visitors a place to enjoy the river’s aquatic activities, to ride horses, eat good food and also try their luck in a number of casinos.
Nevertheless, some hotels have sought to distinguish themselves and provide different attractions, like Harrah’s Hotel, which even includes a “private beach” and multiple facilities for relaxation or at which to hold marriage ceremonies or other social events.
Also at the hotel, guests can enjoy Mexican cuisine at El Burro Borracho (The drunk donkey), a restaurant where the food and drink are supervised and prepared by eccentric television chef Guy Fieri.
Laughlin, which traditionally has hosted families looking for pure relaxation, in recent years has undertaken a significant remodeling of its main streets and constructed an Events Center to attract open-air festivals and concerts.