GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — We all know what May 5th means. It’s Cinco de Mayo and for many businesses in Greenville and Eastern North Carolina, Thursday was a chance to celebrate with food, drinks and fun.
Crowds began gathering at noon and restaurant owners said they were eager to share their Hispanic culture as part of a festive day.
Managers of Greenville’s Plaza Azteca, Carolina and Angel Hernandez, said Thursday is their busiest day of the entire year.
“It’s important because it helps, like he said, to create that revenue,” Carolina Rubio Hernandez said. “But a lot of the money does stay here locally … And we, a lot of our employees are students. So it does help them out a lot as well.”
The managers also said they start preparing months ahead of time to make sure they can handle the volume of customers on the busy day.
“We have to have enough margaritas for everyone,” Hernandez said. “And also, you know, just prepping service wise making sure that we’re giving the best quality service that we can possibly.”
Another local restaurant, La Rancherita, was also busy preparing for the big day.
“Well, we’re expecting to be crazy busy on this day,” said manager Faviola Alvarez.
Alvarez said they bring in extra staff to handle the high volume of customers.
“Around 30 people that is going to be working,” Alvarez said. “So yeah, I’m so happy for them because they’re so excited about this day.”
But it’s not just about food and drinks. Mexican Americans get to celebrate their culture, too.
“If anyone feels like dancing, they’re more than welcome to join in,” Hernandez said. “I love dancing so you’ll probably see me dancing around with the menus.”
Christina Estrada-Underwood, a Spanish teaching instructor at East Carolina University, said the day celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. However, its meaning has changed over time.
“So in the 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement, people celebrated as a symbol of reclaiming their Mexican heritage and their Mexican identity.”
Hernandez said since it will continue to be busy, the best thing to do is be patient when you’re out, tip your servers, and enjoy yourself but don’t drink and drive.