Boisterous notes of trumpets laid over smooth strums of guitars fill the air in over 100 U.S. cities as the mariachi bands bellow and vivacious dancers with brightly colored traditional dresses celebrate Mexican culture on Cinco de Mayo! The Battle of the Puebla, when the grossly outnumbered and underequipped Mexican army led by a Texas-born general staved-off French invasion on May 5, 1862, is a victory that would come to materialize a special event for not only Mexico, but the Americas!
After the war and the expulsion of any lasting French rule in Mexico, many historians recognize this as the last European effort to invade the Americas. With such vibrant culture and resilient people, Cinco de Mayo and its celebration of the Battle of the Puebla has spread as a tribute to Mexican heritage throughout the United States, Canada, Jamaica, and worldwide! The beautiful Smoky Mountains are no exception, with lively Mexican restaurants and fantastic cabins to host your Cinco celebrations by a pool, a lake, or on a deck with incredible mountain views.
There are a few spots in the Smoky Mountains you can choose to appreciate the rich Mexican-American spirit, love for lively music and dance, or sip on your favorite Latin American drinks after delicious plates of enchiladas, tamales, and tacos!
Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Loco Burro is filled with tons of Tex-Mex personality and a fun patio dining area with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Get your margarita fix while sitting back on the large patio couches around a fire pit to celebrate Cinco with some adult-friendly fun and the beauty of Gatlinburg in full view.
No Way Jose’s Cantina
This scenic stop is situated on its own little oasis on the Cliff Branch River that flows along the downtown Parkway of Gatlinburg. With laid-back river vibes and a colorful Latin American atmosphere, No Way Jose’s is a great family-friendly spot to enjoy delicious Tex-Mex fare or sip on margaritas on the patio at dusk.
In the heart of downtown Pigeon Forge is a modest Mexican restaurant with a big, colorful atmosphere filled with art and big, colorful fruit margaritas to match! Your eyes will be drawn to everything in the room, with beautiful cultural art painted on almost every surface. Great reviews, savory food, and ice-cold margaritas and Mexican beer make Cielito Lindo an excellent location to take part in Cinco de Mayo celebrations!
Cinco in the City!
Sevierville is throwing their 5th Annual Cinco in the City festival filled with moonshine margaritas, live music, delicious food, and more in the heart of downtown! Your $30 ticket includes everything in the event: food, concerts, drinks, and more! Not 21 years of age or just not into alcohol? A discounted $20 ticket provides you with food and live music! Bring your lawn chairs and get ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo while hanging out with the family for an incredibly fun day that benefits the community of Sevierville with all proceeds donated to Sevierville Commons. Tickets are limited! Visit the Cinco in the City Eventbrite page to purchase yours today!
Cinco Cabin Fiesta
While celebrating Cinco de Mayo at Mexican restaurants has largely been the tradition in the past decade, the crowds can be a little daunting and it can get a little pricey. Do something hip with the kids in your Smoky Mountain cabin! Use your fully loaded kitchen to create your own fajitas, guacamole, and burritos while the kids splash around in the indoor pool, swim in the cabin community pool, or play arcade games in the rec room. Kick back with a homemade margarita and mountain views from the privacy of your own deck, where the drinks are cheaper and the scenery is incredible.
Hosting a Cinco fiesta in the cabin is also a great opportunity for the kids to learn and have fun, creating memories they will cherish for a lifetime! Here are some cute ideas for your educational fun with the family for Cinco de Mayo:
- Help the kids decorate paper plates and glue them together with uncooked beans inside to create their own homemade maracas.
- On blank Bingo cards, give your little ones items to draw and color in the squares such as the Mexican flag, cacti, piñatas, tacos, and other Latin American-inspired objects before playing a game of Cinco Bingo
- With lime juice, ice, salt, and any additional fruit your family likes (mango is great), use the blender in the cabin to create your own homemade virgin margaritas! Pour margarita salt on one plate and lime juice on the other, and the kids can salt the rims of their cups so they can feel like they are drinking an authentic Cinco de Mayo drink.
- Let the whole family help put together a Cinco de Mayo feast! Older kids and teens can mash the avocados and add the tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and red onion to make guacamole while you brown the ground beef for tacos.
- Use your cabin’s large flatscreen TV in the living room or the projector in the cabin theater to show a movie that celebrates Mexican and Latin American culture like the animated movies, The Book of Life (2014) or Coco (2016).
Whether you choose to celebrate in your Cabins for YOU lodge or out on the town in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, don’t think that just because you are all the way in the mountains you are not in a prime location to celebrate the colorful and vivacious Mexican-American spirit during Cinco de Mayo! After Cinco de Mayo, the springtime happenings continue throughout the Smokies making May a fantastic time to experience the beauty of nature and the exciting events.