Edinburg invites residents 50 and over to celebrate Mexico for ‘Senior de Mayo’

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Something fun for our senior citizens. They’re very important to our community and we want to show how appreciative we are of them being here.

Ninfa Zapata, 76, takes a selfie during the Senior de Mayo celebration at the Edinburg Parks and Recreation center Friday, May 5, 2023. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

EDINBURG — Sasha McKenzie, 2, swung her arms in the air Friday morning as she jumped around the gym with a smile across her face. She mimicked her grandpa, who was sitting down doing low-impact exercises, and matching his movements before dancing around again.

Fernando De La Garza smiled back at her, which only made her jump with more excitement. It was a tender moment for anyone who observed the interaction between the two, which was made possible thanks to a unique event held for a certain demographic.

De La Garza and his granddaughter were among the more than 100 guests at the city of Edinburg’s second annual Senior de Mayo event here at the Edinburg Parks and Recreation Department, where community members ages 50 and older enjoyed various festivities in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Maxine De La Garza, McKenzie’s 58-year-old grandmother, was also in attendance Friday. She explained that she was excited to return for this year’s event because of the colorful activities.

Two-year-old Sasha McKenzie runs past her grandfather, Fernando De La Garza, during an exercise program at the Senior de Mayo celebration at the Edinburg Parks and Recreation center Friday, May 5, 2023. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

“We enjoyed it last time we came. They had painting and it was so nice,” Maxine said, adding that this year she was looking forward to playing Loteria.

Maxine, who often takes care of her grandma during the day, sat around a table with her sister-in-law and brother-in-law as they waited for the activities to start. While they waited, McKenzie cuddled in her grandma’s arms and looked around the room with wide eyes, taking in all the bright colors scattered across the room.

Maxine’s sister-in-law joked that the little girl likes hanging around seniors.

For Parks and Recreation Director Javier Garza, seeing the turnout increase exponentially excited him and hopes that future parks and rec events share similar success.

He explained that last year’s event saw 10 people in attendance compared to 104 residents who signed up for this year’s event.

Wearing her vibrant purple Mexican dress and yellow sombrero, Frances Morales, 58, enjoys the activities during the Senior de Mayo celebration at Edinburg Parks and Recreation center Friday, May 5, 2023. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])
Wearing their Mexican embroidered dresses, seniors enjoy breakfast and other fun activities during the Senior de Mayo celebration at the Edinburg Parks and Recreation center Friday, May 5, 2023. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

“Something fun for our senior citizens,” Garza said. “They’re very important to our community and we want to show how appreciative we are of them being here.”

Cinco de Mayo observes Mexico’s victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Now observed globally, Cinco de Mayor is today a celebration of Mexican pride and heritage, often featuring the cuisine and culture.

In Edinburg on Friday, attendees participated in various activities such as dancing, soft impact exercise, games, lotería and sombrero decorating.

Edinburg native Rosalva Dimas attended the event with her sister Melva Rodriguez, 69, who sat with her in anticipation for the event to begin.

“I thought it would be lots of fun,” Dimas said, adding that she was excited to take part in each activity.

Daniel Mares, 65, wears his sombrero during the Senior de Mayo celebration at the Edinburg Parks and Recreation center Friday, May 5, 2023. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

Rodriguez explained that what she most looked forward to was decorating her own sombrero.

“I’m here to enjoy the day, Cinco de Mayo,” Rodriguez said with a smile. “I have very little things to do or nothing at all so this is something to have fun at our age.”

People gathered around tables filled with brightly colored ribbons, flowers and other arts and crafts materials. They scanned each table searching for the perfect materials to create their ideal sombrero.

Many wore shirts and dresses with flowers embroidered across the neckline showing off traditional Mexican clothing in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Garza explained that not only did the event serve as a fun event for seniors in the community but it also served as a soft opening for parks and rec future plans.

According to Garza, the city plans on opening three new gyms in the area that will offer a senior citizen program for free. The program will consist of various low-impact activities and will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch will be provided.