Andreas Brajas holds his 1 year old son Andrew on his shoulders while they check out some of the low rider cars on display along Colfax Ave in Denver, CO
Andreas Brajas holds his 1 year old son Andrew on his shoulders while they check out some of the low rider cars on display along Colfax Ave in Denver, CO on May 5th, 2013. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Just how many people showed up to Denver's Cinco De Mayo Festival on Sunday is unknown, but organizers were worried about running out of cups in the margarita tent. And while people appeared to be enjoying themselves, this year's celebration remained exceptionally calm, said Denver police Cmdr. Tony Lopez.

Lopez, who overseas security for the summer festivals at Civic Center, such as People's Fair, PrideFest and Taste of Colorado, said only four arrests were made at the event Saturday, and no arrests were made Sunday as of 5 p.m.

"We really haven't had a significant issue here in several years," Lopez said. "This is really the (festival) that sets the tempo for what the summer's going to look like."

Lopez estimated the combined attendance for both days of the festival at around 300,000.

The Civic Center event, which celebrated its 26th anniversary, honors Latino culture and an important Mexican military victory over the French 151 years ago.

Events included a taco-eating contest, low-rider-specific car show, green chili bowl cook-off and cultural dancing, in addition to two live music stages.

One of the biggest draws, however, was the annual Chihuahua race sponsored by Jammin' 101.5-FM. More than 130 of the small pups were registered to compete this year, racing six at a time down a makeshift track.

Five-year-old Chihuahua Gordy managed to win her first round after some not-so-gentle prodding from race organizers, about 200 spectators and encouragement from her owner, Sam Martinez.


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She lost in the second round, but, as Martinez said, there's always next year.

"We'll have to do some more training and practice," he said. "I think she did pretty good. With the spectators around, she was a little confused."

More traditional events also could be found at the festival, such as a prayer dance from Brighton-based Grupo Azteca Mitotiliztli, who practice traditional Aztecan oral and dance rituals. The dancers performed barefoot and in traditional dress at the King Soopers showcase, reacting to the crowd's energy and interacting with spectators.

"It is about sacrifice and giving," member Jose Lugo said. "The dancers were performing barefoot today. That is their sacrifice."

Nic Turiciano: 303-954-1223, nturiciano@denverpost.com or follow @Nic_Turishawno