GHS student Jimenez named 2014 Miss Cinco de Mayo Queen

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The 28th annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 and begins with a parade in downtown Gardena. Cinco de Mayo Festivities will follow at Fukai Park from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The 28th annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 and begins with a parade in downtown Gardena. Cinco de Mayo Festivities will follow at Fukai Park from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Businessman Ricardo Caceras will be this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshal and longtime Gardenan, Martin Almaraz, will be the parade’s Community Grand Marshal. A highlight of the parade will be the queen and her court. Barbara Jimenez was crowned the 2014 Miss Cinco de Mayo Sunday during a coronation at the Gardena Masonic Lodge. Her court of princesses are Jessica Mitchell, first runner-up, Noemi Santa Cruz, Viridiana Ambriz and Elizabeth Hernandez.

The festivities at the park will include entertainment, food, crafts, classic cars, mariachis, folk dancing and the 2014 Miss Cinco de Mayo Queen and her court.

For information regarding the parade, the celebration activities at the park, or the Cinco de Mayo Scholarship pageant, contact chairperson Susana Medina at 310-532-0527.

Ricardo Caceres

In the last 21 years, Ricardo Caceres turned one startup McDonald’s franchise into a company of nine McDonald’s restaurants in Gardena, Torrance and Los Angeles. As his business has grown, so has his commitment to giving back to the community.

An active role model in the McDonald’s culture of community partnership, Caceres involved himself with local schools, non-profit organizations and police departments. He is the board chairman for the Gardena-Carson Family YMCA.

A native of El Salvador and reared in several Latin American countries, Caceres came to California in 1993. He began the American dream by earning a degree in accounting at Pepperdine University, then received his masters in Business Administration from UCLA.

He went to work for McDonald’s Corporation and in 1998, joined ATKA Enterprises which led to his first McDonald’s franchise in Gardena.

A regular face in the City of Gardena, Caceres was an ideal choice as celebrity grand marshal, according to Gardena Councilman Dan Medina.

Caceres is married to wife Kristin and they have three children, Amanda, 19, Benjamin, 9 and Alexandra, 5.

 

Martin Almaraz

Martin Almaraz was born and raised in Gardena. He attended St. Anthony of Padua school and both Serra and Gardena high schools. He married Maria in 1956 and the couple have 9 children, 20 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

From 1964 to 1974, Almaraz served as a Cub Scout leader  and a Boy Scout leader, and was awarded the Distinguished 5 Peak Badge. He served four years as Parks and Recreation Commissioner for the City of Gardena, and two years as Senior Citizens Commissioner. His responsibilities included the dedication of Bell and South (now  Arthur Johnson Park) parks.

From 1978-79, Almaraz was president of the Mexican Civic Organization known as “MACO.” Along with wife Maria, they were founding members of the Gardena Police and Fireman’s Medal of Honor Monument Committee. From 1960 to 1975, he was a member of the Los Amigos Club; from 1994 to 2014, lhe was a member and current chair of the “Old Timers” (Gardena Heritage Club).

Almaraz served as a Eucharist Minister for 20 years, and the couple are 20-year members of the Gardena Elks Lodge No. 1919. In 2007 he was exalted ruler, then was treasurer for a year, spent two years as district membership chair, and 30 years a “proud member” of the Gardena Sister City Association. The Almarazes have served often as host family to visitors from Huatabampo and Ichikawa.

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