Fiesta Broadway draws Cinco de Mayo revelers to downtown L.A.

Fiesta Broadway organizers predicted crowd of 300,000 for 7-hour festival. Police peg it at 7,000 5 hours in.

An exuberant but smaller-than-expected crowd streamed into downtown Los Angeles on Sunday for the 26th Fiesta Broadway, an annual music and culture festival.

"Me gusta el ambiente — it reminds me of when I was in Mexico, it kind of brings back all these memories," said Cristina Flores, 46, who came from Simi Valley to attend the festival, which she said she's attended many times over the years.

"I love mariachi," she added, a cup of iced horchata in hand. "They have mariachi, I'll be here."

Centered at 1st Street and Broadway by Grand Park and across from City Hall, the event celebrates traditional arts and entertainment while offering a stage for up-and-coming Latino performers.

The seven-hour lineup of performances featured Mexican superstars such as Lucero, a multiplatinum singer, songwriter and actress, and Banda Machos, which Otto Padron, one of the festival's organizers, said is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The lineup also included younger pop acts such as Evaluna Montaner and L.A.-based breakout star Cheyo Carrillo, whom Padron compared to Justin Bieber, describing him as "one of these digital creations, born on YouTube, and he has gone viral."

Organizers say the free festival, little more than a week before Cinco de Mayo, is the largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the world, and had predicted the crowd turnout would hover around 300,000. As of 4 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Mike Lopez pegged the attendee count at around 7,000.

"We're glad to report the whole event has been very successful," Lopez said. "Everything has been very peaceful and cooperative."


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