City’s backing of Cinco de Mayo a wise choice
Speaking for his fellow organizers of the Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Duke Neeland asked the De Soto City Council to allow alcohol sales at its annual celebration at the Community Center. Cinco de Mayo organizers say they need the revenue from beer sales to help pay for the entertainment that makes the festival a success.
For a myriad of reasons, the Council chose not to lift its alcohol ban. Council members stated, however, they were willing to consider contributing to the annual event.
There is precedent. The city provides $4,000 to the fire departments for its annual Fourth of July fireworks show. While generally supportive of a possible request, there were understandable concerns among Council members that providing funding for the Cinco de Mayo Celebration would have organizers of other events asking for money also. After all, $4,000 would go a long way to make a festival successful.
We would argue that the Cinco de Mayo Celebration as well as the De Soto Days Festival provide a standard few events could match. Both have proven track records and benefit the city as a whole, as a spike in city sales taxes during their respective months indicate. Cinco de Mayo has been well attended and received in its first three years. It also has something unique to offer De Soto.
The still occurring growth in Hispanic residents is the single most significant demographic event in De Soto's history since the World War II glory days of what was then called the Sunflower Ordnance Plant. And like that early influx, the growth brings with it concerns about housing, basic services and cohesiveness. Those issues, still not well articulated, will best be addressed through understanding and communication. The Cinco de Mayo Celebration offers the community a bridge to start that conversation. We encourage the Council to do what is necessary to ensure the celebration's survival.