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7 ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the Los Angeles area

Samantha Romero with Mexica Ballet Folclorico performs during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Samantha Romero with Mexica Ballet Folclorico performs during Cinco De Mayo festivities on May 5, 2011 at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th for you gringos) commemorates the victory by the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, but you probably just associate it with partying. However you want to celebrate this weekend, here are a few of the best opportunities to gather in the Los Angeles area and have some Cinco de Mayo fun.

1) Tacos & Beer 5K, Saturday 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Long Beach Golf Learning Center (3701 Pacific Place, Long Beach), $45 preregistration or $55 to register Saturday

The Tacos & Beer 5K is being held Saturday, with food and drink sponsors, including Bud Light Lime, TeQava tequila and East Los Angeles Tacos. If you manage to make it through the race, you will be rewarded with a taco and a beer along with your race medal, a goodie bag and a T-shirt. There will also be food trucks and live DJs and bands on the scene.

2) Cinco de Melt-O, Saturday 7 p.m., Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics (7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles), FREE with RSVP

They’re giving control of the Nerdist Showroom comedy venue at Meltdown Comics over to the interns for the night (as seen in the NerdTerns Web series). The lineup includes comedians DC Pierson, Dan Telfer, Ricky Carmona and Ed Salazar. They’re even offering free beer. Click here to RSVP.

RELATED: Navigating Mexico's booming beer industry

3) Cinco de Mayo Olvera Street Festival, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.–9 p.m., El Pueblo Historical Monument (125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles), FREE

At El Pueblo Historical Monument on Olvera Street, you can enjoy street performers and live music as part of an outdoor carnival. You can also get your grub on, all in a kid-friendly atmosphere (piñatas anyone?). Better yet, this is a free event, so if your pockets are light, this is the place for you.

4) Cinco de Mayo Festival, Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Museum of Latin American Art (628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach), FREE

This free event features tours of the Museum of Latin American Art’s galleries, music, dance, crafts and more, plus food trucks to keep you fueled while enjoying all of those things. They’re also hosting a Cinco de Mayo beer tasting the night before, with craft beer and live mariachis. Tickets are $35 for non-members.

5) Grande Cinco de Mayo Block Party, Sunday 2 p.m.-7 p.m., Tortilla Republic (616 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood), $10 regular ticket or $20 VIP

This open air festival features a top 40 mariachi band, a piñata pit (wait, what now?), plenty of tacos and margaritas and more. It also happens to be for a good cause: Your ticket will help benefit Project Angel Food, a group that provides meals for people homebound or disabled by either HIV/AIDS or another serious illness.

6) Second Annual Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival, Sunday 3 p.m., Greek Theatre (2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles), $25-$69.50

Los Lobos are trying to make their Greek Theatre Cinco de Mayo performance an annual thing, and they’re back for a second year with this festival. Along with Los Lobos, it also features funk and soul musician Robert Randolph, Latin American supergroup Los Super Seven, Willie G of classic R&B group the Midnighters and more.

7) Lucha VaVoom’s Cinco de Mayan, Sunday 8 p.m., Mayan Theatre

Lucha VaVoom has become a landmark of L.A. culture, combining Mexican wrestling, comedy and burlesque performers into a strange performance art. As they describe it, it features “sexo y violencia.” Also listed for this year’s event: “Mariachis! Chica’s Wrestling! Lowriders! Tequila! Tamales!” Sadly, it’s sold out, but maybe you can still score a last-minute ticket.

Is there an event we missed? Let us know in the comments.