OGDEN -- Samson Akwenuke knew exactly why he was at the Marshall White Center on Saturday afternoon.
"My teacher, Mrs. Montanez, showed us a video about Cinco de Mayo," said the 9-year-old. "It talked about the Mexican army beating the French army. I wanted to come here today because I have respect for Mexico wanting to be independent from France and I want to help celebrate the holiday. It's a really important part of history."
Hundreds of people attended the daylong event at the Marshall White Center is in its 10th year or so, said Jill Barker, one of the event organizers.
"We have a lot of new things this year," Barker said. "We have several local vendors selling their items and several local artists are performing. In the past, we've had a lot of people come from out of town to perform, so we're really excited to have the local people dancing and singing for us today."
Barker said an adult couples Latin dance is a new feature.
"We're very excited about it. It's offered to the community and we're hoping a lot of people will come out and join us," she said. "We're also hoping to expand the Cinco de Mayo celebration and make it a two-day event instead of just one day."
Outside, children were playing Tug of War, jump rope, go fish and bean bag games. There was a car show, basketball tournament, piÃ±ata-hitting contest, face painting and bounce houses.
"I've been here before," said Paxton Ballingham. "It's a lot of fun. The food is really good and I like to hit the piÃ±ata and get all the candy. They blindfold you when you're trying to hit the piÃ±ata and they pull it up and down. Sometimes it's hard to get it."
Inside, people were buying gifts for Mother's Day, watching live dance and singing performances, and dining on food provided by Javier's Restaurant. Free swimming was also available.
"I got to dance with my school," said Gissel Vazquez, a student at Odyssey Elementary School. "We performed a Mexican dance on the stage. It was fun to get up there and shake around to the music. It was cool to be on the stage."
Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for The 5th of May, celebrates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.