Casa Rodriguez’s Cinco de Mayo Block Party makes resounding comeback

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 10:54 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Hundreds of people gathered right outside Casa Rodriguez Wednesday for the Mexican restaurant’s annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party after it was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The smell of tacos and festive music meant anyone could tell with their eyes closed they were in the middle of a Cinco de Mayo festival. Themed vendors that lined the surrounding blocks rounded out the unmistakable atmosphere. But the thing that made the event special this year was all the people who showed up.

“This is the biggest crowd event that I’ve attended so far,” Bryan resident Monica Arredondo said. “It’s a sense of community, a sense of pride, and just a sense of camaraderie.”

“It’s nice to see everybody come together and celebrate and try to get back to normal,” Jennifer Amaro, who lives in College Station, said.

It’s the sixth time Casa Rodriguez hosted the Cinco de Mayo Block Party to celebrate the Mexican culture and promote local downtown businesses, but owner Debbie Rodriguez says this one means a little more as the community begins to emerge from the pandemic.

“It feels like relief, like you’re outside and the wind’s blowing,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a beautiful day. You can breathe. It just means a lot like, okay, we’re moving forward.”

For some, spending time with friends and family at a proper celebration was all they needed.

“It feels great seeing my kids with their cousins and their friends and their friends’ friends,” Bryan resident Chris Duran said. “I think we took it for granted when we didn’t have it, so now that we got it back, it means a lot.”

Many were getting out and about for the first time since the pandemic began almost 14 months ago, finally feeling more confident about gathering again.

“I felt more comfortable now that I’ve received my COVID vaccine,” Aneysha Gray, who also lives in Bryan, said.

Rodriguez says it means a lot to her putting on the event each year and knowing how much it means to the community.

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