The Running of the Chihuahuas (image via Cocino 214)
The Running of the Chihuahuas (image via Cocina 214)


Chihuahua and margarita lovers have something to look forward to in Winter Park, Fl, next weekend when Cocina 214 hosts The Running of the Chihuahuas, an annual event held at the popular Tex-Mex restaurant benefiting a number of worthy animal-based organizations. It’s a race to the finish with tiny contestants charging across the track with wild abandon in an effort to be the wiener — oh, wrong dogs, but you get the idea — while onlookers enjoy margaritas and Mexican beer from the sidelines.

Cocina 214

Winter Park is located in Central Florida near Orlando. It’s full of excellent dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities in a vibrant upscale environment, and it’s where Cocina 214 calls home. Self described as a “contemporary Mexican and Tex-Mex kitchen” serving “authentic, quality food” in an “elegant setting,” the restaurant draws large crowds every year for what has become a tradition of Chihuahua racing.

chihuahua racing at cocina 214
At the starting line of The Running of the Chihuahuas (image via Cocina 214)

Cinco de Mayo

But it’s not just the race that draws the fans. It’s the day-long block party visitors to the area get to enjoy in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, which will be marking its 155th anniversary this year. Often confused with Mexican Independence Day, it’s actually in recognition of the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Most people in the U.S. view it as an opportunity to gather with friends and drink margaritas, tequila and Mexican imports at half price.

Animal Charity Benefit

But The Running of the Chihuahuas isn’t just about racing and cheap libations. It’s just as much for raising money for various charitable organizations like Winter Park Lost Pets and A Cause 4 Paws Rescue, among others, and, of course, having fun. And it’s as much fun for the dogs as it is for the owners and fans. They are ecstatic when they’re out there. The event has become so popular that Chihuahua owners are said to come from miles around to let their frisky athletes compete.

Cocina 214 cinco de mayo chihuahua dog race
Cocina 214 (image via Cocina 214)

The Running of the Chihuahuas

If you’re going to be in the area, this year’s race will be held on May 7 and it starts at 11 a.m. The entry fee for dogs is a $15 donation, and the block party will feature a live DJ, a photo booth, Corona giveaways, Tito’s handmade-vodka samplings and a whole lot of fun. According to Lambrine Macejewski, Cocino 214’s co-founder and business manager, they’re still accepting race registrants on their website, so if you’ve got a little senor or senorita you’d like to enter, there’s still time.

Even if you don’t, you can still cheer on your favorites as you say adios to their backsides, once the mad dash begins. If you go or you know anybody who has, we’d love to hear about it. Share your story with us in the comments section below.