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For the 3rd consecutive year, the Santa Rosa Cinco de Mayo festival canceled due to COVID-19

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) — Walk into a Santa Rosa parking lot just off Sebastopol Road around the first week of May, and it would normally look a lot different than it does now.

What is now filled with food trucks and other vendors, would instead be the site of the city’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebration – a party that has been canceled for the third year in a row.

“We normally start planning in January and obviously in January the whole community was in the omicron wave. And so we didn’t have enough time to plan it,” said Sylvia Lemus, one event organizers.

Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the Latin American population.

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Lemus says that while the decision to cancel wasn’t easy, it was made with the safety of the community in mind.

A loss to many throughout the Bay Area.

“We attract a lot of people from different cultures to come and celebrate. And even though it’s a Mexican holiday, it’s a multicultural celebration,” Lemus said.

With the celebration again canceled, local law enforcement says they will be on the lookout for other events taking place instead.

Santa Rosa Police Department Lt. Janine Kucker said that without the festival to draw people in, her department would increase its presence on the streets.

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Prepared for any potential illegal activity, with things like side shows in mind.

“They’re really not safe for our community members. You know a lot of people get injured in these side events,” Kucker said.

But for those wondering when the festival might return, Lemus says next year will be a lucky one.

Make a comeback, bigger and better than ever.

“2020 would have been our 15th year. It would have been our quinceañera. And we couldn’t celebrate our quinceañera and we were going to do it big. So we’re looking forward to next year,” Lemus said.

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