The party kicked up on Grant Avenue, with music filling the street, with flags rippling in the air, and with dancing pounding the pavement, as colorful dresses whipped around, and waves and smiles were sent left and right, as the motorcycles rumbled by, the lowriders cruised through, all before horses ridden sidesaddle or sauntering sideways.

Cinco de Mayo kicked off Saturday morning with Odessa’s annual parade making its way down Grant, then turning to reach Ector Middle School, before participants and onlookers moseyed their way on and spread the party out with them on their way in the day’s celebration.

Area businesses put together floats, individuals teamed to make cavalcades of motorcycles, lowriders and horseback riders, and Ector Middle School presented its soccer teams and dance teams for the event organizer Jesse Porras said was bigger and more successful than previous years.

“This year, compared to the last two years, went awesome,” Porras said. “We had more participation.

“I saw more people watching. They’re getting out there where they’re being part of what we’re doing. This is a party for the community. … It was good. It was awesome.”

Pete and Eva Hernandez, from their spot along Grant, were happy to watch as the sights and sounds of the parade cruised by.

“They should keep the tradition going,” said Pete, 67. “(Spectators) find out where their roots are coming from. … We emphasize it to our kid.”

“It’s bigger than the last one we saw,” said Eva, celebrating her birthday weekend ahead of turning 67 on Sunday. “We usually try to go to all of them.”

Porras said he had both more participants in the parade this year, and, from his vantage point from the utility vehicle humming along with the parade, he saw more onlookers waving on aside the parade route.

“There were more people,” Porras said. “They were already sitting down with their lawn chairs. They were ready.

“We want it to grow.”

Festivities continued throughout Odessa on Saturday. After school functions during the week, and the parade Saturday along with a Cinco de Mayo 5K put together by the Midland Athletic Company and a Victory Run organized by the Midland RockHounds, the 22nd Fiesta West Texas charged on toward starting its last day today at noon at Ector County Coliseum.