BOARDMAN- Cinco De Mayo on May 1? With a four day head start on the holiday, the city of Boardman kicked off its annual celebration of Latino culture Saturday.

Food, vendors, crafts and informational booths stretched out on the grass of the Boardman Marina Park with hundreds of people coming out to see the sights and take part in one of the biggest parties of the year in Morrow County.

"The base of our celebration is to bridge any cultural gaps we may have," said Angela Guiterez, the chairwoman of the Cinco De Mayo Committee, the group that puts on the event.

Guiterez said there is a misconception that the celebration is meant mostly for the Latino community, when it actually is a celebration of culture for everyone regardless of nationality.

Joel Chavez is one of the members of the committee and he said all cultures should be celebrated.

"I think people need to celebrate diversity. That's the strength of the United States," Chavez said.

Former Cinco De Mayo Fiesta Queen Esmeralda Leon said people might not always understand the significance of the celebration.

"They don't realize there's a lot more going on," Leon said. "Basically just sit back and relax and eat lots of food."

Don Crumley and his wife Anita like to come to the celebration because it feels like more then just a town party.

"This is a family get-together," Crumley said. Anita said even though it is not May fifth it still feels like a holiday to her. Don quickly adds they have an advantage both being retired.

"Everyday is like a holiday to us," Crumley said.

Mayor Tom Meyers was on hand Saturday to welcome everyone to Boardman and added that the Cinco De Mayo Fiesta is one of the biggest treats in town.

"As far as we're concerned we'd love for this to be here every year from here to eternity."

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