There were marriage proposals and LA Dodgers attended the annual Cinco De Mayo Lowrider cruise at Elysian Park

If your birthday, baby shower or celebratory event falls on May Day and you tried to celebrate with a relaxing carne asada in Elysian Park this Sunday, we’re sorry. The combination of the LA Times Car Club’s annual Cinco de Mayo cruise and the Dodgers game effectively transformed the Elysian Valley and the streets of Echo Park near the stadium into one giant parking lot. Thousands of people, low riders, custom bikes and motorcycles came from all over the Southern California area to participate in the unofficial event.

Throughout the day, hundreds of candy-painted classic cars drove down Stadium Way. Different genres of music were all vying for the same ears. While vendors sold beers, mixed drinks, waters and food. Early Sunday morning, LA TACO senior photographer Erwin Recinos witnessed a marriage proposal at the entrance to the parade car. He also spotted Justin Turner of the LA Dodgers as well as relief pitcher Brusdar Gaterol checking out the scene.

Later that day, at the intersection of Stadium Way and Scott Avenue, cars fitted with dozens of batteries and custom hydraulic suspension systems bounced up and down. As onlookers watched and filmed in awe and a growing line of people attempted to cross the intersection.

Although lowriders and car enthusiasts meet at Elysian Park almost every Sunday of the year, the Cinco de Mayo cruise stands out and has grown in recent years. Fernando Carillo, a classic car enthusiast who has been coming to these meetings for years and also barbecue slang from his apartment occasionally, LA TACO told LA TACO that people started checking in for parking spaces in Elysian Park as early as 6 p.m. Saturday. That’s about three hours earlier than people started claiming places last year. Automobile clubs worked in shifts overnight to assert their rights.

For these reasons, Carillo was hesitant to go on the cruise this year. Compared to Last yearwhen vaccines were just starting to become readily available, Carillo says this year there were fewer masks and fewer people but more cars. Although the unofficial event is hosted by the LA Times Car Club, people from as far away as San Diego come to participate. A spot along Stadium Way under the picturesque row of palm trees is considered prime real estate. Carillo settled this year for a cooler spot up the hill on Scott Avenue. “Before you know it, you’ll have to come on Friday to get a spot,” Carillo said on Sunday.

Limited parking and the competitive nature of car culture led to a few verbal altercations over parking spots towards the end of the day. People who camped overnight or showed up early in the morning for a coveted spot weren’t happy when people who arrived later in the day encroached on their territory. But overall, things remained calm. A spokesperson for the LAPD’s media relations division told LA TACO that they were not aware of any issues with Sunday’s auto meet.

At the end of the day, the fluids from the cars pooled on the street, while giant trailers moved in to tow the cars home or for the later cruise to Van Nuys. Around 4 p.m., two LAPD officers were on the scene and ordering attendees to move some cars and motorcycles onto Scott Avenue. The lowriders were jumping and going in all directions.

Fernando Carrillo standing next to his Chevy.

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