Charro Days has gone virtual this year as a way to maintain the spirit of the event despite the global pandemic, and maybe make it a little easier on those who can’t imagine a year without the fiesta.

Preceding the festivities each year is the public unveiling of the official Charro Days poster, which took place virtually on Feb. 17 minus the public and shown on the Charro Days Fiesta Facebook page, YouTube and Brownsville TV, the city’s official online video portal. Likewise the big annual kickoff event Baile del Sol will be something to watch rather than attend this year. It starts at 2:30 p.m. today and can be seen on the Facebook page and YouTube.

Charro Days Inc. President Henry LeVrier said the virtual festivities will feature a combination of live and recorded events. A complete schedule of the fiesta’s several events during the week through the Feb. 28 Closing Ceremonies Concert can be found on the Charro Days Fiesta Facebook page and Charro Days website, he said.

The children’s costume contest was accepting photo submissions before the week of the festival. They’ll be judged and announced on Facebook Live during the Baile del Sol.

“We’re just trying to mimic everything on Facebook the way it usually is in person,” LeVrier said. “That’s just one example of how we’re doing it.”

Last year’s Brownsville Independent School District Festival Folklorica and BISD Children’s Parade will be shown on the BISD-KBSD ITV YouTube channel on Feb. 22 and Feb. 25, respectively. Fiesta Dance Night is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 24. Viewers can call into the DJ to request songs and are encouraged to dance along at home, LeVrier said.

“We’re trying to make it as interactive as possible,” he said.

A mariachi performance by Mariachi 7 Leguas is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. and can be viewed at the Charro Days Fiesta Facebook page and on YouTube. A video of 2020’s Grand International Parade will be shown on Brownsville TV at 1 p.m. on Feb. 27. The Sombrero Festival En Casa will feature a concert at the Sombrero Festival’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27, while the Closing Ceremony Concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28. It can be viewed on Brownsville TV.

“It should be exciting,” LeVrier said. “We’re trying to keep the spirit living on.”

The public is being encouraged to dress in traditional Charro Days attire for the week even if the event itself is virtual this year and also decorate their homes and businesses in the spirit of the festivities, similar to “Yardi Gras” instead of Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, he said.

“We’re hoping to build on this from year to year, for people to decorate, so when you’re driving around town Charro Days is going on,” LeVrier said. “I think it’s something great that we can keep on doing, even when we’re back to normal. Let’s promote the spirit of Charro Days. … We’ve got to keep on going. We can’t let the spirit die.”