May 1, 2009

Flu concerns scrap Cinco de Mayo festival

A day-long Cinco de Mayo festival in New York's Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was canceled because of swine flu concerns, officials said.

Jaime Lucero, president of Casa Puebla and executive producer of the Cinco de Mayo Festival, which had been scheduled for this weekend, said it was wise to err on the side of caution, The New York Daily News reported.

We have decided for prudence, Lucero told the newspaper. We are not saying that the outbreak is something out of the ordinary, but given the circumstances it is better to have solidarity, as much with the community here as with Mexico.

The decision came as New York's Hispanic population eyed reports from Mexico indicating that 12 people have died from 312 confirmed and 2,500 suspected cases of a novel strain of swine flu, sparking fears of an international pandemic.

Also canceled for the weekend was the Ranchera Music Festival, which had been set for Saturday at Our Lady of Pompeii in Manhattan's West Village and was to feature 15 mariachi groups from around the world, the Daily News said.