Early Cinco de Mayo celebration in San Leandro

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sunday this year, so many celebrations are being held before May 5th, stretching throughout the holiday weekend. 

Community groups and law enforcement agencies say they are doing what they can to make sure everyone has a fun and safe time.

One celebration in San Leandro got an early start Friday evening. Children, dancing in bright colorful dresses, brought out smiles and the spirit of Mexican music and culture to the city's Marina Community Center.

"We want to encourage some cultural pride, so we like it to be family-oriented because we have a kid," said Maria Rivera-Tello of Union City who came with her husband and small son. 

Cinco de Mayo marks an important moment in history and culture for Mexican and Mexican-American families, embodying the spirit of independence.

"The Cinco de Mayo is actually to commemorate the Mexicans beating the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862 and it was really historic," said Corina Lopez, Vice-Mayor San Leandro, who spoke at the community event.

The celebration brought people from many parts of the community together to share in the culture, food and music.

"I like it cause it has stuff for the kids to do and Mexican sweets and drinks to try out," said Jeff Piatt, a San Leandro father who was attending for the first time with his family. 

"People from the city are involved in trying to make the different communities have their voices and that's a good thing," said Piatt.

The San Leandro event and many others around the Bay Area are family friendly, with no alcohol served.

"We see the Folklorico and the mariachi groups and we enjoy the music, and it doesn't take alcohol to be happy and I just enjoy that everybody's able to do that," said Lydia Rodriguez, the San Leandro Recreation Supervisor who organizes the event every year.

To keep people safe through the weekend, many law enforcement agencies throughout the Bay Area say they'll have extra officers on patrol. 

"Any holiday weekend we are always concerned for our community's safety," said Felicia Aisthorpe, an Oakland Police spokeswoman, "Everyone wants to celebrate. They want to have a good time and they're with family and friends and people tend to celebrate and drink." 

Many law enforcement departments say they will have saturation patrols to stop anybody driving under the influence. Officers also want to remind the public that DUI offenses aren't limited to alcohol. 

"You can get a driving under the influence not just for alcohol but for other things, prescription drugs, the use of marijuana."  

Bay area drivers could face crowded roads and heavy traffic this weekend, with San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose all holding Cinco de Mayo celebrations on Saturday.