From tacos to live music, Friday night was filled with authentic and uplifting family fun in honor of the upcoming Independence Day at the San Juan Municipal Park.

The city of San Juan hosted its annual Fourth of July event once again after suspending the celebration last year while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ben Arjona, San Juan city manager, said he and his team were excited to bring the community back together.

“We engage with the community and we give back to the community and we feel that by doing so the community is always coming together and that’s the number one goal, putting the community first,” Arjona said.

He said the city felt the economic impact on revenue after not being able to host its events last year.

“I think everybody went through the same thing and everybody felt the pinch because of COVID, Arjona said. “Now that COVID is pretty much at the tail end, we’re seeing the economic impact come to fruition within the city and within surrounding cities. Sales taxes are going up so we feel that by hosting these types of events, it attracts people.”

Decorated in red, white and blue, San Juan Municipal Park set the tone for an evening of celebrating patriotism and independence.

As anticipated, hundreds of residents from the surrounding cities attended the event.

Attendees sat in lawn chairs, which they were encouraged to bring to enjoy festivities.

Tony Saldaña, a San Juan resident, said he was happy to be among his fellow community members this weekend.

“The Fourth of July is a very special day where we honor America and of course this is my hometown and we’re here to enjoy the people and celebrate the occasion so I’m excited,” Saldaña said.

He said he was looking forward to the firework display at the end of the night the most.

Miguel Luna, who recently moved to Edinburg, heard about the event on the radio. He said he decided to bring his two daughters out to the event to enjoy some activities outdoors.

Luna added that it felt great participating in events after the pandemic.

“It feels great because the kids were losing their minds, so any chance I get to get them out in the sun, I take it, especially with the vaccines and everything,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about the masks.”

Parade participants dance during the City of San Juan 4th of July Celebration at the San Juan Municipal Park on Friday, July 2, 2021, in San Juan. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The crowd erupted as local car owners honked their horns during the 6 p.m. parade.

In the car show/parade, the Puente family displayed its ‘62 Chevy Impala.

The family attends the event annually and were excited to be back after a tough year.

The parade was followed by a wrestling match which featured local luchadores and wrestlers from Laredo.

Throughout the evening guests enjoyed snacks from local vendors, such as tacos, barbecue, raspas and street corn.

Aside from food and drinks, guests danced and sang to ‘80s greatest hits, courtesy of the Spazmatics.

To end the evening, the city of San Juan set off a firework display leaving children and adults looking up in awe.

[email protected]

View the full photo gallery below:

Photo Gallery: San Juan welcomes residents in Independence Day festivities