Credit: Via Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club

A new street festival is coming to downtown Bethesda this spring.

The Cinco de MayoThon will be centered around a “micro-marathon,” which will be similar to other charity running events but with a twist.

“It’s got all the trappings of a major race,” said Chris Jones, a member of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club, which is hosting the event. “You get race numbers and race shirts, and there’s a starting line and a finish line and a water table halfway down the course—even though it’s only about 50 steps long. It’s about 50 strides to glory.”

The 164-foot run will kick off the day of activities in Woodmont Triangle—including food sold by vendors, live music, performances and games for kids—from noon to 5 p.m. May 5. The race will span Norfolk Avenue between Cordell and St. Elmo avenues, and the festival will take place on the blocks of Norfolk and St. Elmo avenues next to Woodmont Avenue.

Registration for the race is $25, which includes a shirt, discounted food and drinks and a raffle ticket for giveaways.

Jones, the Cinco de MayoThon committee chairman, said the rotary club decided to put on a Cinco de Mayo event when members realized the group had nothing planned and had an opportunity to celebrate the holiday.

“We thought there was an opportunity to do something both bigger and perhaps more significant than the original silly concept,” he said. “One of the things that Rotary is as a large international organization, we’re all about building bridges where others would build walls, so we decided to do a cultural festival as well.”

To carry out the event in a way that would connect with the Mexican community in the area, Jones said the rotary club partnered with the Mexican embassy in D.C. and Mexico Tourism Board to host Cinco de MayoThon. The proceeds for the event will benefit JUCONI, a charity for at-risk children and families in Puebla, Mexico.

The event will feature tents serving food from local Mexican restaurants, and Mexican cultural and arts activities. There will also be a tequila and cerveza garden, street performers, a kids’ zone and live music and dancing.

The Cinco de Mayo holiday marks the anniversary of the Mexican army defeating the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

Cinco de MayoThon replaces Strut Your Mutt, which was canceled last year, because organizers thought they needed an event that could raise more money for charity, Jones said.

If all goes well, Cinco de MayoThon could become an annual event. Jones stressed that it wasn’t meant to be a political event, but rather a fun time for everyone in the community.

“We’re trying to take a general stance of cultural awareness and friendship, and at same time raise money for good causes,” he said.

Via Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club