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Cinco de Mayo Ferris wheel lighting at the Santa Monica Pier

Published on April 25, 2024

The Pacific Wheel will light up in red, white, and green from Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5 in celebration of Cinco de Mayo 2024.

Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for “Fifth of May”, is a yearly celebration held on May 5. It commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. This victory is notable because the Mexican army prevailed over the larger and better equipped French force.

Widely celebrated in Southern California, Cinco de Mayo was first commemorated in Columbia, California, just days after the historic battle. Mexican miners were so overjoyed at the news of the victory that they spontaneously let off fireworks, sang patriotic songs and made speeches.

Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day. This is celebrated on September 16, and commemorates the “Cry of Delores” (the call to revolt) that initiated the Mexican War of Independence. Cinco de Mayo has now become associated with a more general celebration of Mexican-American culture.

We’re honoring the occasion by lighting the Pacific Wheel in the colors of Mexico. Enjoy this special event from Friday, May 3 through to Sunday, May 5. You can see the Pacific Wheel lights from dusk until 11:35 PM each evening.

Other Cinco de Mayo events happening in Los Angeles include:

Cinco de Mayo Family Day at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, adjacent to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Discover California’s connection to the Battle of Puebla through theatrical performances, music, hands-on workshops, and more. 501 N Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012. Saturday April 28, 12 PM. For more information visit LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes.

Cinco de Mayo at The Rose Bowl, Pasadena. This free, family friendly event will include live music, a youth soccer tournament, a marketplace, and movie showings of Disney’s® Coco and Disney’s® Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Saturday, May 4, 12–6.30 PM. More info at

Special lighting of the Pacific Wheel for Cinco de Mayo

Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5
dusk (around 7:30 PM) to midnight

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier

See the lights from home at

The world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel regularly displays seasonal programing and themed light designs for holidays and special occasions. Our state-of-the-art lighting package can display over 1.6 million different colors and animate patterns and icons in 24 frames per second. Solar arrays inside Pacific Park power the energy efficient LEDs. Pacific park staff manually animate each design, which can take hours of programming. The aim is to provide fun, exciting, and sometimes whimsical designs to entertain guests on the Santa Monica Pier and surrounding beaches.


Feature image courtesy of @pacpark