Papi Hosts Atlanta’s Cinco de Mayo ‘Carnaval’

Ah, Cinco de Mayo. For people of Mexican descent, it’s a day to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride. Historically, the day marks the defeat of French forces in Mexico in 1862. But you’re not reading this for a history lesson.

In modern times, Cinco de Mayo is a way to celebrate Mexican culture, the way holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and the Chinese New Year are used to celebrate broader cultural experiences. Knowing this, Las Margaritas is gearing up for their annual Cinco de Mayo party, with expectations that this will be their biggest party yet.

Papi’s Cinco de Mayo Outdoor Latin Carnaval, as the event is billed, marks the tenth annual event for Cinco de Mayo from Las Margaritas. With the level of activity increasing on a yearly basis, this year’s event is the second to be held outside in the restaurant’s parking lot.

Co-owner Oscar Valdivieso, also known as Papi, hopes that the event will serve as a way to connect the various parts of Atlanta’s LGBT community. “Atlanta’s very segregated. One of the things I shoot in my events is not only to give back to the community, through the non-profits, but also to bring all of the community together. It’s why we have drag queens and singers [from different communities], because when you come to my event, it’s totally mixed.”

Valdivieso’s efforts to create a diverse atmosphere certainly come into play with the event’s organization. He likens the event to the Brazilian Carnival, with its bright and festive atmosphere.

No Cinco de Mayo party would be complete, of course, without top-notch entertainment, and Las Margaritas is pulling out the stops for this year’s line-up. DJ Karlitos, known for his work at Jungle, will be providing music throughout the day, along with DJ Chiruco from Chaparral’s Got Leche Fridays. Additionally, a Colombian salsa meringue band will be providing a more traditional musical experience.

Additional performances throughout the day add to the diversity of the event. Heading up the musical performances is up-and-coming singer Brie. Following an appearance on BET’s 106 and Park, where she came in first place in the program’s Wild-Out Wednesday Female R&B/Pop competition, Brie released her debut EP, Vamp, in March.

Attendees will also experience production numbers from Alissah Brooks and Stasha Sanchez. Brooks is known in the Atlanta area for her performances throughout the city, notably during the first season of Dragnique. She’s also made waves recently through her friendship with The Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham.

Sanchez, meanwhile, holds several national competitive titles, including Miss Black America, Miss Gay US of A, Miss Black Universe, and Miss Ebony International. She is currently performing weekly at The Stars of the Century, Jungle’s weekly Monday night show.

Also providing entertainment during the event is JSin of Secretroom, a group that caters to the goth and fetish communities.

Aside from the main stage action, a number of secondary attractions will take place. Attendees will also be able to enjoy a number of activities, including face-painting, a photo booth, blackjack with Miss Lauren, and tarot card readings. A number of treats, including homemade cotton candy and popcorn, will also be available.

Among the prizes being given away are masks and whistles to all guests, as well as Las Margaritas t-shirts.

In addition to providing a lot of fun for Cinco de Mayo, the event will also help out the Atlanta community. The primary beneficiary is Joining Hearts. The non-profit organization, which is commemorating its 25th anniversary, will split the proceeds between AID Atlanta and Jerusalem House.

A number of other organizations will receive contributions through special bartenders. Representatives from the Atlanta Bucks, the Armorettes, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Hotlanta Softball League and other organizations will serve as bartenders throughout the day, with proceeds from each bar going to the bartender’s group.

Speaking of bars, Las Margaritas will be having specials on their namesake drink, which were voted by our readers as the Best Margaritas in Atlanta as part of David’s Best of Atlanta 2011.

In short, if you’re looking for a way to have fun this Cinco de Mayo, while also helping the Atlanta community, Papi’s Cinco de Mayo Outdoor Latin Carnaval is the way to go.

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Papi’s Cinco de Mayo Outdoor Latin Carnaval begins at noon on May 5 at Las Margaritas (1842 Cheshire Bridge Road). Parking is available by valet near the restaurant and at Heretic; shuttle service will be provided to and from Heretic.

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