Jesus Romero, Owner of Taxco Restaurant, wanted to help support his community while sharing his culture with his neighbors. Twenty years later, the Cinco De Mayo Celebration has raised over $160,000 for local charities.
On May 5th, 1998 Jesus Romero, owner of Taxco Restaurant in Sycamore, held the first Sycamore Cinco de Mayo event. It started with one man’s dream to create an event to raise money for charity. With the help of local businesses, Jesus Romero’s dream came true.
In 1998 Jesus was chosen as Team Captain of the Sycamore Jaycee’s Relay for Life Team, benefiting the American Cancer Society. Puzzled on what the team could do to raise money he started brainstorming with other business owners. During a conversation with the owner of Cub and Spanks (who shares a back parking lot with Taxco), they came up with the idea to have a fiesta on May 5th.
The event would feature food, drinks, and fun for the whole family, all while raising money for charity. With the help and support of the owners of Cub and Spanks, the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, the City of Sycamore, and the participation of the community, they were able to raise $600 for Relay for Life. Back when the event started Taxco Restaurant was a small restaurant, with the capacity for 60 people.With it being the first year for the event Jesus did not know what to expect.He concentrated on the fiesta outside and didn’t take into consideration the restaurant inside, thus they ran out of food! Having close to 500 people they were not prepared for the turnout.
The next day Jesus was so surprised when he heard people taking about the event. The support from the community helped him decide to make Cinco de Mayo an annual event, benefiting local not-for-profit organizations.
During the same year Romero met Joann Dillman, director of CASA. Dillman and Romero brainstormed ideas on how Taxco and CASA could work together to make Cinco de Mayo even bigger and better. Over the next 20 years the event would raise more than $150,000 for local non-profits, including Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Cinco de Mayo CommunityWorks Endowment Fund at the DeKalb County Community Foundations (DCCF), Kishwaukee College Foundation, and Conexion Comunidad.
In 2006, Romero partnered with Discover Sycamore, a branch of the Sycamore Chamber. With their help and support, Cinco de Mayo took a gigantic leap to the next level, raising more than $15,000, which enabled Cinco de Mayo to start an endowment with the DCCF's CommunityWorks Initative. At the time funds were matched by the Grand Victorian Foundation, which doubled the initial donation of $7,500 to the endowment. Today the endowment is valued at approximately $45,000 which helps to generate around $1,800 annually to fund Community Works strategies in the areas of child care, land use, and workforce development in DeKalb County.
This year celebrating the 21st anniversary, will be held Sunday, May 5th on Bill Johnson Blvd., behind Taxco Restaurant. The event will feature live music and authentic Mexican beverages. Like years past, the event will feature an assortment of musical entertainment and dancers throughout the day and into the evening, games for children, Piñatas, eating contests and of course food and game tickets can be purchased at the event.
In 1998 the event was not what it is today, but Romero still carries on many of the original aspects of the event; food, piñatas, live music, and of course the money going to not-for-profits. “Investing in your community is the best investment you can make in your lifetime, in my own humble Mexican opinion."
In 2018 Sycamore Cinco de Mayo became an official 501 C(3).