Cinco Nuevo: A new festival in Flint celebrating Mexican heritage

FLINT, Michigan—It is not Cinco de Mayo. Instead, David Aguilar Hall is bringing Cinco Nuevo—a celebration of Mexican culture, tradition, and contributions—to downtown Flint on May 6. 

The event is free and open to the public. It will feature a best taco competition, live demonstrations by artists, tortilla rolling, loteria (which is a Mexican bingo), Aztec ceremonial dancers, and music. Coordinated in conjunction with the Flint Public Art Project, the event runs noon to 8 p.m. May 6, 2017, in the Flat Lot downtown.  

Cinco Nuevo is about going beyond “a large sombrero, funny mustache and a tequila sunrise,”  says Hall, a Flint native.
To find out more about Cinco Nuevo, check out their Facebook page at

“You’ll be able to see that, yes, our culture includes Mariachi and ballet folklorico, but we also have soul singers, DJ’s and artists who are producing things that aren’t just centered around Mexican-American heritage,” Hall said. “We are adding to and creating new and different things as well.”

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5 to commemorate the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which the Mexican Army defeated the French. 

“The day has become kind of a day of overindulgence,” Hall says. “We want to remind folks in the city that the culture is more than just beer and Mexican food—that we have a lot to offer.”

Hall moved away from Flint in 2002 when he joined the Air Force and then lived in San Antonio, where he was impressed with the many Mexican cultural events that regularly take place in the city. 

“I think people from up this way would be surprised with the level of cultural events that happen there, and I wanted to bring a bit of that to Flint,” Hall says. “There are many different aspects of our community. There are artists that don’t just do Mexican Art. There are innovators, business owners, doctors, lawyers and people of every stripe that make this country what it is.”

Cinco Nuevo also is purposefully designed to bring more people to downtown “to see and enjoy the development that is taking place,” says Hall, who was impressed with the amount of vibrancy he found in Flint when he returned.

Hall admits he didn’t return to Flint for economical or cultural reasons—rather something far more important. 

“I reconnected and started dating a girl from back in the day,” Hall chuckles. “I came back because I was in love.”

He married in October and also found himself deeply motivated to be a part of the new vibrancy he now found in his hometown.

“I didn’t want to just sit around and go on living my life, day-to-day; I wanted to also contribute,” Hall says.

Proceeds from Cinco Nuevo will honor prominent local Mexican-American jazz musician of the 1970s and ’80s, Bruno Valdez. Valdez was a trumpet player who brought other great musicians to Flint. He was died in a car crash in 1991. Hall said a scholarship will be established at Mott Community College for a music and arts student in Valdez’s name.

Cinco Nuevo sponsors include Team One Credit Union, Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, United Way, and American Metal Roofs and Print Sites. Partners include Flint Public Art Project, Sutorial Boot & Shoe Makers, Tenacity Brewing, Factory Two, and the Flint Children’s Museum. Poco Loco is catering the event.


Read more articles by Jake Carah.

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