The wait is over! St. Louis’ Cinco de Mayo Festival on Cherokee Street is finally back, in person, on May 7. Organizers are expecting this year’s turnout to be the largest attendance they've seen yet—so enjoy these tips from Festival Vendor Coordinator Adina O’ Neal on making the most of your Cinco de Mayo experience.

Take it all in.

The Festival is only one day—from 11 am to 10 pm on May 7—but there’s plenty to explore. “Make sure you hit all the stages and attractions,” O'Neal said. “We have a ton for you to experience. Don’t rush—plan on spending the day at the festival, and enjoy yourself.”

In addition to local food and beverage vendors, the Festival boasts artists, a mechanical bull, Lucha Libre wrestling, and three entertainment stages (See the lineup here). New this year is the Battle de Bandas at the Hornitos Stage on California Street. Catch the action at 7 p.m. as different Latin artists compete for $1,000 and five hours of studio time at Native Sound recording studio on Cherokee.

Photo by Bailey Elizabeth Rogers

Pack a few key items & plan your ride

O'Neal says visitors should be prepared for sunny weather and a couple hours on their feet. In her festival bag? A water bottle, sunscreen, some cash, an ID, a credit card. Comfortable shoes are also key; you never know when you’ll feel like dancing. Organizers also recommend avoiding the search for a parking spot and celebrating responsibly by using rideshare like Uber or Lyft to get to the event. Find designated spots for drop-off and pick-up at the corner of Cherokee and Jefferson.

Bringing kids? Come early.

Come down to Cherokee as early as 11 am to avoid the bulk of the crowds. There’s also designated areas and activities for families. Kids of all ages will also enjoy the People's Joy Parade.

Don't miss the People’s Joy Parade.

O’Neill describes the People’s Joy Parade as one of the Festival’s can't-miss moments. The parade, which kicks off at 1:11 pm at Cherokee and Minnesota, is a community-centric parade dedicated to creating art and spreading joy. Anyone can sign up to walk in the parade, which always includes plenty of costumes, puppets, singing, and local flair.

Photo by Dave Adams

Come hungry (and thirsty).

Food is an essential part of the Cinco de Mayo Festival experience. “You'll definitely want to try as many tacos as you can!” says O'Neal. She also recommends the iconic “Pineapple drink”: a fresh margarita served inside a pineapple. If tacos aren’t your thing, there are plenty of food vendors to explore—and pan dulce for something on the sweet side.

Photo by RJ Hartbeck

Enjoy the neighborhood.

While there’s plenty to do at the festival, the bars and stores on Cherokee Street will be open as well to stop in for some shopping—or just a break from the sun. Many of the establishments will be hosting their own Cinco de Mayo celebrations or special offerings, so feel free to make the entire street a part of your day. “I love this event because Cherokee Street is my favorite street in St. Louis,” said O'Neal. “There’s something for everyone to enjoy on this street, and this festival highlights many of the local businesses.”

Consider a bird’s eye view.

Want to take in the Festival from above? Join us at the Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo Festival VIP Party presented by Modelo. Your ticket gets you access to the party, held on the second floor The Golden Record, as well as drink tickets, food, music, swag bags and more.

Photo by RJ Hartbeck

Get ready to have fun.

Above all, have fun. “We’ve prepared an excellent Festival for you to attend,” O'Neal said. “We are so excited to be back!”

For more information about this year’s Cinco de Mayo Festival, visit the website or follow the @CincodeMayoSTL on Instagram and Facebook.