This Cinco de Mayo, do Cinco de Mario.
On one desert spring day, you can be a “Saved by the Bell” Look-A-Like Contest winner, shop the mercado, cheer your favorite in the Kentucky Derby, quaff rosés and mint juleps and meet TV star, businessman and event impresario Mario Lopez and his family.
On Saturday, May 5, the two-time Emmy winner and star of the ’90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell” visits Scottsdale to celebrate the world’s first “Cinco de Mario.”
It’s his innovative cover of Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican Army’s underdog victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862.
From the creators of Arizona Taco Festival, the event runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza downtown.
“If you’re like me, you love to enjoy good food and drinks with friends and family, and Cinco de Mario is the place to do just that,” said Lopez, who played A.C. Slater on “Saved by the Bell.”
Lopez also is known for his hosting duties, on “Extra,” a nationally syndicated daily entertainment show, iHeartMedia’s “On with Mario Lopez” and “Countdown with Mario Lopez,” and “Candy Crush,” a televised game show based on the online game.
The always-busy Lopez also does a boxing-focused podcast, “The 3 Knockdown Rule.”
“We decided to put together a big fiesta since Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, and it’s also the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, and Rick Phillips, my partner, had become friends with Mario, who wanted to throw a festival,” said David Tyda, co-principal, with Phillips, of Phoenix-based The Taco Group.
The two taco-loving businessmen inaugurated the Arizona Taco Festival eight years ago and have since produced others nationwide, this year in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“The event will remind people that Scottsdale is the place to be,” Tyda said “Our location, Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, is home to marquee events like the Scottsdale Culinary Festival.
“There are plenty of shaded areas to walk around, while discovering festival elements like the rosé wine garden or craft beer area. The city of Scottsdale does such a fantastic job maintaining that park, and we’re looking forward to activating it with an event that feels fresh, inclusive and festive.”
Among the many offerings is a Mercado, or marketplace, where families can shop for Mexican gourmet goods in a farmers market-like setting with a handmade tortilla station, ceviche bar, and salsa section as well as arts, crafts and live painting.
For the Saved By The Bell Look-a-Like Contest, patrons are encouraged to impress A.C. Slater, that is Lopez, with costumes resembling beloved characters from the show.
Those with ticket upgrades to the Derby-themed Mansion VIP Tent can enjoy the Kentucky Derby with mint juleps, screening of the great race and a Churchill Downs vibe.
Trending rosé wines are at the Vino Rosa Experience. A tasting pass is $20 for eight samples. And, at the Hopping Around Experience tent, guests can sample craft beers for $20 for eight samples.
Comedian Frankie Quinones will be conducting a fun Cholofit Yoga class. “His YouTube series Cholofit Workout has posted more than 2 million views,” Tyda said.
In addition, local bands and musicians will perform throughout the day, culminating in a concert by The Sugarhill Gang.
At the Kids Zone, children and parents can visit a craft area, where they can learn the art of making papel picado, jump on rides and play games. great thing for the event.