Giving credit where credit is due is a fundamental part of any successful relationship, and Kansas City knows this all too well. In an effort to show appreciation to the Hispanic community, they teamed up to create the first Chicano Arts Festival in Kansas City. In conjunction with the Mattie Rhodes Center, The Scribblers Co., and the Hispanic Education Awareness Resource Team (HEART) of Hallmark Cards Inc., this spectacular gala brought the community together to kick off a great Cinco de Mayo.

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The cultural holiday began at City Hall where the mayor and his city council recognized Kansas City’s Hispanic community for their significant contributions for their cultural and ethnic diversity. As invited guests, LOWRIDER magazine was highly honored for the invitation, and once we arrived we were amidst great company and many social and community leaders. To rub shoulders with artist and poet Michael Reyes, artist/ muralist Francisco Franco, as well as artist and cofounder of Chicano Park Josie Talamantez, was both an honor and a humbling experience.

The four-day Cinco de Mayo Festival included art exhibits, lowrider processions, a car show, awards show, live music, dancing, and an all-star lineup of speaking engagements form local high school and elementary students. In all, it was a privilege just to be in attendance, and as an added bonus we were also given the opportunity to visit the Hallmark Cards headquarters, as well as the Mattie Rhodes Art gallery.

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In full support of the holiday celebration were numerous lowrider car clubs from surrounding areas. The Viejitos, GoodTimes, and South Side, along with Blas Ladesma brought out an old-school ambiance, and we had a blast. We hope that this will soon become an annual event, but while we’re waiting, we’d like to send a special thanks to Aaron and Deanna Munoz, John Fierro of Matte Rhodes, Michael Alvarado photography, Steve Lupercio, and the lowrider family from Kansas City who put out a warm welcome for us.

Lastly, we couldn’t end this story without thanking Kansas City for creating such an epic event, and for giving credit and recognizing the Hispanic community for their achievements and hard work.