Contrary to popular belief, not all mariachi bands are male.
At least, not anymore. Mariachi Femenil Orgullo Mexicano is the first all-female mariachi in San Francisco and the northern Bay Area. Check out this video above, .
Also contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo (or the fifth of May) is not Mexico's independence day—that actually falls on Sept. 16.
Nor is it an American drinking holiday created by the alcohol industry, despite the thousands of bottles of tequila and margarita mix sold and consumed.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Until now, the only area in Mexico that really celebrates Cinco de Mayo is the state of Puebla. However, the holiday is widely celebrated throughout the U.S. to honor Mexican heritage and pride. Cities and towns across the nation mark the Mexican victory with festivities that often include dancing, crafts and plenty of food.
One of the most popular food consumed during the big day: guacamole. The California Avocado Commission predicts that over 70 million pounds of avocados will be eaten during this year's Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
So whether you're looking to sip on a frozen margarita or dance to the melodies of a mariachi band, Castro Valley Patch has you covered on ways to celebrate locally for this year's Cinco de Mayo.
What: Dress up in festive garb and enjoy a lunch that includes chicken or beef enchiladas, Spanish rice and refried beans. Socialize with your friends as you listen to great music and admire colorful decorations. Act fast because tickets tend to sell out quickly.
Where: 17800 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley
Time: The event begins at noon.
Cost: $5.50 in advance (just stop by the center Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., to order), $7 at the door
What: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this local Mexican restaurant staple for the 32nd year in a row. Dine on traditional Mexican dishes for as low as $9 a plate or sip $6 drink specials ranging from draft beer to margaritas. The deal is good all day, but don't miss out on the mariachi band from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. where you can sing along or dance to toe-tapping tunes like "El Viajero" and "Paloma Blanca."
Where: 3430 Village Dr., Castro Valley
Time: All day for food and drink specials, 6:30-8:30 p.m. for the mariachi band
Cost: $6 for certain drinks, $9-$13 for certain dishes
What: Laugh right out of your seat with comedian Dennis Gaxiola. After appearing on Comedy Central with Jamie Foxx, the Latino Kings of Comedy Tour with Paul Rodriguez, BET's Comic View, Que Locos and the 2010 season Martin Lawrence's First Amendment Stand Up, Gaxiola comes to San Leandro's historic Bal Theatre for a show that also features Big Al Gonzales, Rodger Lizaola, Fernando Soltero and Justin Harrison.
Where: , 14808 E. 14th St., San Leandro
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Take a swing at a papier-mâché piñata, enjoy traditional Mexican music or satisfy your cravings for Mexican cuisine at this year's free community festival. The event also serves as a health fair and youth expo—booths will be set up to serve information and games to the public.
Where: City Hall Plaza, 777 B St., Hayward
Time: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
5. ("with pride")
What: In an effort to reclaim Cinco de Mayo from the American alcohol industry and to promote the holiday's true meaning, a coalition of community organizations in unincorporated Alameda County will be hosting a family-friendly festival. The event will include a health resource fair, free food for the community, raffles, traditional Mexican entertainment and a Youth Expo where kids may express their talents through the arts in support of creating healthy communities.
Where: Ashland Community Center, 1530 167th Ave., San Leandro
Time: 11 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.