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Planning for annual Cinco de Mayo festivities underway

The Sunnyside Cinco de Mayo Committee kicked into full gear Tuesday afternoon for this coming year's celebration of the area's Hispanic heritage.

The 16th annual Cinco de Mayo Festival will be held May 6-8 in Sunnyside.

The committee, headed up by Lino Guerra and Brezzi Campos, met Tuesday at El Mejor Tequito.

One of the first orders of business was changing the fees vendors pay to sit up a booth in downtown during the festival.

Guerra wanted to include in the fee the cost of providing everything for vendors, ranging from the actual booth to electricity. Guerra said he felt it would be easier to charge one fee for all services, instead of a variety of fees.

Guerra also thought the size of the vendor booths should be changed from 10x12 to 12x20, with which committee members agreed. Guerra cited problems vendors had last year with the smaller sized booths as his reason for expanding the booth size.

"It was too compact," said Guerra. "We were like sardines."

After much discussion by committee members, it was decided to charge an all-inclusive fee of $150, which cover the costs of the booth, electricity, security and other necessities.

Last year, the Cinco de Mayo festival had in the neighborhood of 100 vendors, which lined the streets of downtown Sunnyside.

Vendors will also be required to cleanup their sites after the festival is done.

"If you don't cleanup, you won't come back next year," said Campos.

Another suggestion of Guerra's was to have vendors be required to secure any canopy they might be using. Guerra will bring to the next meeting in two weeks a suggestion he has for vendors to use to secure their sight, which involves filling PVC pipe with sand and capping off the open ends.

"That will help us control it, if the wind comes up," said Guerra.

The committee also agreed to secure the services of Amante Sound of Wapato to oversee the stage and sound systems during the festival. Guerra said the contract with Amante Sound will cost $2,400.

Paradise Amusement is scheduled to provide the carnival entertainment for the Cinco de Mayo festival again, said Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce representative Rhoda Giffen.

The committee also discussed the possibility of moving the car show from the Mid-Valley Mall to the downtown area near the swimming pool.

One significant area of discussion during the meeting Tuesday was deciding if the charro celebration should take place.

Committee member Bill Flower said there are a couple of issues surrounding the charro competition that need to be addressed, if it is going to take place this year. A charro competition is a similar to a rodeo event.

"You have to have a charro judge who knows what he is doing," said Flower.

Flower said the charro competition in the past had judges that didn't understand what goes into evaluating the charro competitors.

Flower also suggested moving the charro competition to downtown Sunnyside. Flower said he felt the event should only be held if it is done so in the downtown area.

"It has got to be done right or we can't do it," said Flower. "We are going to have to work real hard to make it happen."

The committee will also be discussing at its March 2 meeting at El Mejor Tequito ways to spruce up the annual parade. The public is invited to attend the March 2 meeting, which will be held at noon.

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