May 4, 2019
Plaza de Panama and Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Building on the incredible success of last year’s inaugural event, the Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Balboa Park is expanding to bring even more Mexican-themed music and dance performances, arts and crafts, and family-friendly activities. Set within both the historic Plaza de Panama and Spreckels Organ Pavilion, this year’s celebration once again features colorful horseback riders, traditional dance groups, a fashion show, strolling mariachis, hands-on activity booths for kids, authentic arts and crafts demonstrations by artisans from Mexico, food trucks, and a free concert event featuring Jarabe Mexicano.

The popular local ballet folklorico group, La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego, kicks off the day’s entertainment in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 11:20 a.m. following the 11:00 a.m. opening ceremony, while Mariachi Victoria de San Diego performs in the Plaza de Panama at 11:25 a.m. At 12 noon, the day’s signature horseback procession, with Escaramuza Charra las Golondrinas and Asociación Charros Herencia Charra led by a floreador, enters the Plaza.

Additional entertainment in the Plaza de Panama will be provided throughout the day by Mariachi Victoria and the Paris Escovedo Band, performing Latin jazz. The Spreckels Organ Pavilion will feature more dance performances by Fiesta Danzantes and Wa-Kushmá Mexican Folk Production, as well as a fashion showcase of traditional Mexican dress from various regions. At 5 p.m. the San Diego State University Drumline will lead a procession from the Plaza to the Organ Pavilion for the free concert event featuring Jarabe Mexicano. (See schedule below for details.)

Other highlights of the day include Huichol artisans from Nayarit, Mexico, demonstrating various traditional art techniques and a hands-on bracelet-making activity, sponsored by the Mexican Consulate. Additional activity booths will be hosted by Canal 12 Televisa, the Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego Public Library, San Diego County Fair, House of Mexico, San Diego Natural History Museum, and more. The Fab Trailers vintage photo booth will also be on hand to help attendees commemorate the festive day.

The day’s food offerings include a variety of cuisines from some of San Diego’s best gourmet food trucks parked along the El Prado walkway. In addition, the Prado Restaurant will host live music and family activities, and serve street tacos, margaritas, and cerveza on their Garden Terrace from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Food Truck Lineup

Aunty Lynne’s
Beachin’ Boba
Bosnian Grill
Cousins Maine Lobster
Dang Brother Pizza
El Hueco
Frida’s Cocina
Mastiff Kitchen & Catering
Monster Crafts
Super Q
Tacos La Mezcla
Tacos y Mariscos el Jefe
Yo Yo Bento
Marcel Belgium Waffles


Transportation and Parking

Visitors arriving by car should park in the Inspiration Point parking lot at the corner of Park Blvd. and President’s Way and ride the free tram, which runs 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., into the park. Attendees can avoid traffic and parking hassles altogether by using Lyft, our official ridesharing partner, to request an affordable ride in minutes. All Lyft app users can receive 20% off (up to $3) one ride to or from Balboa Park with code BPCINCO19 on May 4, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (limited quantity available; restrictions apply). Families can also take advantage of MTS Family Weekends, which allows two children 12 and under per each paying adult to ride the bus and trolley for free on Saturdays and Sundays. To plan your trip, visit


Entertainment Schedule


11:10-11:20 am

Opening Ceremony in the Plaza de Panama

11:20-11:40 am

La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego: A 20-minute ballet folklorico performance in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion of the popular community-based dance group, featuring traditional dances from Jalisco, Veracruz, Chiapas, and the revolutionary period.

11:25-11:40 am

Mariachi Victoria de San Diego: Performance of mariachi music in the Plaza de Panama before accompanying the horseback procession at 12 noon. Mariachi Victoria is part of the City Heights Music School.

12 noon-1 pm

Equestrian Procession: Four traditionally attired horseback riders from the Escaramuza Charra las Golondrinas and Asociación Charros Herencia Charra travel from the Botanical Building into the Plaza de Panama. The procession will be led by floreador Miguel Jr Bautista performing rope tricks. Sponsored by Canal 12 Televisa.

12:40-1 pm

La Fiesta Danzantes de San Diego: A 20-minute ballet folklorico dance performance in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

1:10-1:40 pm

Mariachi Victoria de San Diego: Strolling mariachi music in the Plaza de Panama and along the El Prado walkway.

1:15-2:15 pm

Traditional Mexican Dress Showcase: A fashion show in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion of traditional attire created by indigenous women from diverse regions of Mexico, including San Luis Potosi, Michoacán, Jalisco, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas, and Yucatán, all from Olga de la Vega’s “Weavers of Dreams” private collection. Sponsored by Canal 12 Televisa.

2-2:45 pm
3:15-4 pm

Paris Escovedo Band: Performance of Latin-flavored jazz by the international recording artist in the Plaza de Panama. Sponsored by Univision Radio’s Amor 102.9 FM and Que Buena 106.5 FM.

2:30-2:50 pm
3:10-3:30 pm

Wa-Kushmá Mexican Folk Production: Performances in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion of traditional folk dances from Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Baja California, featuring up to a dozen dance couples.

4:45-5 pm

San Diego State University Marching Aztecs Drumline: Performance on the Plaza de Panama stage by the 20-member drumline followed by a procession to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and participation in a performance of the US and Mexico national anthems there at 5 pm.

5:05-6:30 pm

Cinco de Mayo Concert in Spreckels Organ Pavilion: Jarabe Mexicano performs contemporary and traditional Mexican music. Jarabe Mexicano is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of San Diego.


Activity Booths in the Plaza de Panama

Balboa Park Conservancy: Cinco de Mayo-themed stick puppet-making craft for kids and Lucha Libre and Frida Kahlo mask-making crafts.

Canal 12 TELEVISA (2 booths): Hands-on crafts for kids and photo op with the station’s famous mascot, Tebeo. Also, an opportunity to spin the prize wheel for fabulous gifts for the whole family.

City Heights Music School: Musical Petting Zoo featuring traditional Mexican instruments and instruments used in symphony orchestras. The Petting Zoo introduces children to a variety of instruments and gives them the ability to see, touch, hear and play them. 

Escaramuza Charra las Golondrinas (2 booths): Opportunity for kids to “ride” and take selfies atop Senior Woodie — a saw horse with a charro saddle. Items for sale include rebozos, silver earrings, sombreros, sarapes, flower headbands, necklaces, and more.

Golden Memorial Insurance: Cinco de Mayo-themed coloring sheets for kids and Golden Memorial pen giveaway. 

House of Mexico, International Cottages: Booth — Opportunity for families to play loteria, a Mexican-style bingo game often played at kermeses (carnivals). Lawn Program at International Cottages (12:00pm – 4:00pm) — Folklorico dances from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Food for sale includes freshly made churros and Mexican-style corn on the cob. Also, arts and crafts exhibit and sale.

Kaiser Permanente: Opportunity for kids to ask questions on nutrition and win a small prize by spinning the Health Wheel. Also, literature on nutrition, diabetes, and HBP.

La Vista Memorial Park & Mortuary: Cinco de Mayo crafts for kids and a life-size El Chavo display.

Mexican Consulate (5 booths): Booth 1-2 — A Shaman and Huichol artisans all the way from Nayarit, Mexico, demonstrate traditional painting and jewelry-making techniques. Booth 3 — Wearing traditional Huichol costumes, Nayarit artisans from Sierra Madre Occidental display artworks made in beadwork and yarn, and teach kids how to make yarn and chaquira bracelets to take home. Booth 4 —Information about current Consulate programs. Booth 5 — Chinelo artisans all the way from Morelos, Mexico, display artwork including masks made with chaquira and colorful dolls covered in feathers.

San Diego County Fair (2 booths): Booth 1 — Selfie opportunity in front of a colorful Fair-themed booth; $8 vouchers good toward Fair admission, while supplies last; and information about this year’s Fair, whose theme, “Oz-some,” explores the magical world of L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Booth 2 – Crafters from the Mexican State of Oaxaca make huipiles, embroidered blouses worn for special occasions by indigenous women in southern Mexico and much of Central America. Also, hand-embroidered clothing made by the Zapoteca community and purses from the Triqui community and a variety of personalized bracelets that can be made on site with customers’ names. Visitors can also spin the electronic wheel for a chance to win prizes, including Fair vouchers, and a chance to slap a piñata for Mexican candy.

San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation: Vegetable stamping with flower-shaped okra to colorfully decorate Cinco de Mayo coloring pictures. Also, learn about the many fun, exciting, and diverse recreational programs offered throughout San Diego, as well as employment, volunteering, mentee/intern programs, and pre-employment training opportunities with the Parks and Recreation Department.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: Hands-on craft activity for kids to create and decorate their own train-themed Mexican banners using papel picado.

San Diego Police Department Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol: Free police fingerprinting for kids. Parents will be provided with their child’s fingerprint identification card that can be used to assist law enforcement personnel in locating their child in the event the child is reported lost or missing.

San Diego Public Library: A hands-on craft for children to make their own festive maracas. Also, visitors can spin a wheel to win swag, including magnets, pencils, tote bags, and more. Pick up handouts about SDPL’s many library resources and sign up for a library card.

SBHIS: Cinco de Mayo-themed coloring activity for kids. Also, an opportunity for seniors to spin-the-wheel for freebies and learn about Medicare from SBHIS, an insurance agency that helps people who have Medicare find suitable supplemental plans.

SDG&E: Opportunity to spin the wheel and win a prize while learning about how to save energy.

Spanish Village Art Center: Hands-on activity for kids making paper flowers to attach to a wrist or ponytail with an elastic band, and coloring pages activity. Also, Cinco de Mayo-themed handcrafted items for sale.

Starlight Theatre: Craft and coloring station for kids to color in a mariachi performance on Starlight’s stage. Also learn about efforts to reinvent and reopen the Starlight Theater and how you can get involved.

Timken Museum of Art: Cinco de Mayo-themed art-making activity for kids.


The Cinco de Mayo Celebration in Balboa Park is presented by the Balboa Park Conservancy in partnership with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, with sponsorship support provided by Canal 12 Televisa, Univision Radio’s Amor 102.9 FM and Que Buena 106.5 FM, Kaiser Permanente, Golden Memorial, and the Kiwanis Club of San Diego.