By Heather Regula, Correspondent
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is celebrated in commemoration of the Mexican Army’s victory over France, at the Battle of Puebla, during the Franco-Mexican War, in 1862. While Cinco de Mayo is a minor celebration in Mexico, communities in the United States celebrate the day with embraced the food, drink, and festivities.
The Bell County Museum-goers were treated to crafts, live music and dance during the Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, May 5.
“This is the first time we’ve brought in the MECATX dance group, and we are excited about the great turnout here today,” remarked Kayte Ricketts, Bell County Museum Education Coordinator.
MECATX, Multi-Educational Cross-Cultural and Arts Association of Central Texas, is run by Dr. Daniel Kott, a retired Army doctor.
“I started dancing when I was in seventh grade in Aurora, Ill. Now I’m 87 years old, and I’ve been dancing ever since. I was an Engineer officer in the Army, during the Korean War, and I went to college and medical school while staying in the Reserves, after returning home,” explained Kott. “After graduation, I joined the Active Army and served 25 years as an Army doctor. I had the “when in Rome…” frame of mind and I submerged myself into the culture of wherever I was stationed and learned the music and dance where I lived.”
The MECATX dancers performed several traditional dances, in the dress of the region of origin, for attendees on Saturday. Eight-year-old Sarena Salvador was one of the dancers.
“Dancing is a lot of fun, and I love the costumes,” stated Salvador.
Audience members were captivated by the talents of the youth, and the colorful costumes.
“We live in Academy, and we don’t have anything like this available out there. I brought my kids here today so they could see the performance. I want my children to be able to learn these dances from our heritage,” explained Adalia Garcia.
The Bell County Museum currently has the “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America Through Galveston Island” on display. Galveston Island was the entry for hundreds of thousands of people coming to America from 1845-1924. Admission to the Bell County Museum is free, and the museum is home to America’s most extensive collection of mustache cups. Hours of operation are 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday.