Cinco de Mayo goes virtual during pandemic

Cinco de Mayo goes virtual during pandemic

ST. LOUIS — Like every other event these days, this year’s real-life Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo Celebration has been canceled. But the organizers see no reason to cancel the fun or the celebration.

Instead, the celebration is going virtual, as the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District, Do314 and the Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo organizers host Cinco de Mayo at Home. The event happens at noon Saturday on Facebook Live. 

The online event mirrors the actual festival that has taken place on Cherokee Street west of Jefferson Avenue for 15 years. More than 40,000 attend each year. This year, the COVID-19 coronavirus is forcing most of us to stay at home and keep our distance.

“Canceling the street festival was a devastating loss for our community, which looks forward to this day year-round and relies on Cinco de Mayo for much-needed revenue,” said John Joern, lead Cinco de Mayo organizer and co-owner of The Whiskey Ring bar, 2651 Cherokee St. “We hope this virtual event will keep some of that energy alive.”

Revelers march in the Peoples Joy Parade at a previous Cinco de Mayo. This year’s celebration will be a virtual experience because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pademic.
Photo by Dave Adams
Cinco de Mayo at Home will have elements similar to those at the real festival. There will be concerts by those who were scheduled to perform, culinary videos by food vendors and recipes for margaritas by Cherokee Street bartenders, to give the flavor of the street festival. There also will be a version of the People’s Joy Parade.  

“As folks responsibly stay at home, we’ve seen many event producers and content creators get really creative and transition their energies digitally,” said Sarah Berokwitz, general manager of Do314. “Cinco at Home is a great example of how events can live on even when we aren’t able to be together in person.”

Organizers seek to boost Cherokee Street morale. They also want to raise funds for the Show Up for Cherokee Go Fund Me campaign. Proceeds from that campaign help Cherokee Street employees and small business owners on who are out of work because of COVID-19.

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