Lowriders, SJPD preparing for 2 Cinco de Mayo parades this weekend

San Jose police officials say preparations are underway for this weekend’s Cinco de Mayo celebration. Officials said they expect bigger crowds this year and have plans to keep people safe and moving along not one but two parade routes.

At his San Jose home late Wednesday, lowrider David Polanco was polishing one of his rolling works of art: A 1963 Chevy Impala SS. Her rumbling engine and close-to-the-ground body will be front and center at one of two Cinco de Mayo parades on Sunday.

"Very excited. And a little nervous…it’s just because you want everything to go well after all your planning," said Polanco.

He’s president of the Lowriders Council of San Jose and said planning for this year started days after last year’s event. 

The result will be a parade on the Eastside, along the King Road corridor and through Downtown San Jose.

"We’re encouraging the public to come down, celebrate responsibility and be able to celebrate with us," said Sgt. Jorge Garibay, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

He said several street closures will be in effect Saturday due to various events. Sunday, the two Lowrider parades start at 10 a.m.

"We know that when we collaborate with our San Jose police department, it’s gonna be a little bit more organized. And folks feel safer coming down to celebrate Cinco de Mayo," said Omar Torres, the District 3 representative on the San Jose City Council, which includes Downtown San Jose.

The I-680 off-ramp to Story Road will be closed, and there is the potential for road diversions downtown based on traffic congestion.

This year the department is doing more than collaborating and monitoring road conditions. Officials said officers will ride in the Lowrider parades, in a 1964 Plymouth police cruiser.

"I think we’re fortunate that the community is willing to collaborate with us and that we have the opportunity just to be involved in these parades. Just because we remove a ban doesn’t mean the community wants us to be part of the parade," said Garibay.

Polanco said that cementing a better relationship with the SJPD was always a goal, from the old days to the ugly days to the current day, of two parades.

"We sat down, kind of talked about things, and since then the relationship has grown," said Polanco, buffing one of the car’s fenders and then admiring the shine. "We have a line of communications, so we can grow that. Hopefully, in five years it’s even better."

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected over the two days of events. San Jose police suggest attendees use rideshare or mass transit if coming to the South Bay for Cinco de Mayo.

For more information on San Jose's Cinco de Mayo events, click here

Cinco De Mayo Parade and Festival: San Jose, California 

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on the X platform (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU2 and on Instagram, @jessegontv