Nine candidates will be competing on Saturday for the 2019 Cinco de Mayo crown, a tradition that goes back decades here in Dinuba.

Missing this year, however, will be the Cinco de Mayo Princess competition.

“We’re doing something a little different this year,” said pageant coordinator Debbie Rojas. “We want to focus on just the queens.”

Rojas explained that though the princess portion has been an important part of the pageant over the years, because there is scholarship money involved for the winners at the queen level she wanted to allow for more girls to have the opportunity.

And it worked.

Last year there were 11 total candidates in the Cinco de Mayo Pageant. Of those, six were running for queen and five ran for princess. This year, without the princess candidates, the number of candidates running for queen increased.

Running this year are Bianca Villanueva, Lucero Garcia, Yakaren Estrada, Alyiah Rangel, Maria Dominguez, Melissa Valencia, Natalie Gonzalez, Felicity Morales and Jessica Leal. (See profiles for Gonzalez, Morales and Leal on the Back Page of today’s Sentinel.)

For this year’s theme, the pageant board chose a tribute to the late Tejano music star Selena, with pageant entitled ‘Baila Esta Cumbia’ (Dance to this Cumbia).

Making a special appearance at Saturday’s pageant will be 2018 Cinco de Mayo Queen Melissa Valdez and Princess Celeste Placencia.

Valdez, who won last year's pageant after a provocative monologue regarding 'the wall', will be doing another monologue on Saturday.

The contestants will be dancing their opening number to a Selena medley. The number has been choreographed by Dinuba's Danielle Lester of Queen D'z Dance Studio.

"It's going to be a really good show," said Rojas of Saturday's pageant. "The girls have been working really hard and are very talented. We would love to have the community's support."

Master of Ceremonies for Saturday's pageant will be Yolanda Valdez.

The pageant will be held at Dinuba High School’s Hellbaum Auditorium and will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $7 at Debbie’s Hair Fashions, located at 141 West Tulare Street. Tickets at the door will be sold for $10.

For more information, contact Debbie Rojas at 250-7933.

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