By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
Friday afternoon’s rainfall likely put a dent in the attendance, but did nothing to dampen the moods of those who celebrated Cinco de Mayo with the community at Mesalands Community College.
The rainfall stopped before the 5:30 p.m. opening of the event, in its seventh year at the two-year college. As a precaution, though, many of the events were moved into the MCC main building and nearby Tucumcari High School.
There was no charge to attend the celebration or to see Amistad perform a mix of music, but the events did have charges set up. People could buy tickets at a table outside for 25 cents each, and the tickets could be used for the various games and activities taking place.
Adults and children alike spent a ticket getting into the action with face-painting by the school’s art faculty member, D’Jean Jawrunner.
Jawrunner said people only needed to say what they wanted and what colors they wanted.
“We do a lot of roses, we do a lot of eagles and we do a dragon,” Jawrunner said. “Those seem to be our most popular requests.”
Other tickets went to small carnival-style games, but the majority of tickets were spent on the cakewalk, which was moved inside. Participants would give two tickets for a chance. Participants sat down in one of 23 chairs arranged in a circle, and they would walk around while music played.
When the music stopped, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honors organization drew a number corresponding to one of the chairs. Whoever was sitting at the chair with that number got their pick from a table full of cakes.
“We had a guy last year, I think he spent $15 on the game to get a cake,” said Phi Theta Kappa President Robbie Brown, who is planning to transfer to Eastern New Mexico University to continue an elementary education degree. “We finally gave him a cake — we figured he’d earned it.”
A few blocks away at the Tucumcari High School Auditorium, Amistad was performing for the crowd.
Celebration organizer and MCC Media Relations Director John Yearout thought the crowd enjoyed Amistad, a group based out of Las Vegas, N.M.
“It’s a good group,” Yearout said. “They play a good mix of songs — Spanish, English, country, rock and roll. They do it all.”
Phillip Barry, MCC president, said the Cinco de Mayo event is always a fun event because it gives family entertainment to Tucumcari.
“I think the community enjoys the music we bring in,” Barry said, “and just having people from all walks of life is a great thing.
“It’s a small-town kind of celebration and the kids enjoy it.”
The event usually has about 400 to 500 people, and Yearout figured the crowd was a little bit more than half — not a disappointment considering the “opening act” of rain.
“The count’s down a bit,” Yearout said, “but it’s still a good group considering what we started with.”