It feels like everyone has gone through some tough times in the last couple of years. This event allows us to celebrate and be joyful — both for what we have and for the celebration, the fiesta, and the traditions this week.
BROWNSVILLE — Elizabeth Street was bustling with crowds of costumed performers, vendors and celebrants Saturday afternoon for Baile Del Sol outside the Charro Days Inc. headquarters. The smell of sizzling tacos wafted on the breeze, with children dancing and playing as the community showed up for an afternoon of fun to officially herald the start of Charro Days Fiesta in the city.
One part street fair and one part talent showcase, the event has something for everyone, with student and professional performances, food and Charro Days costume vendors, a taco eating contest, an award ceremony for student artists, folklorico dancers, the traditional grito and a performance by Gary Hobbs for attendees to take a turn around the makeshift dance floor.
One of the first student performances came by R. L. Martin Elementary with a group of six, seven and eight-year-olds dancing “El Gallito” from the Mexican state of Nayarit.
The girls carry fans and wear brightly colored dresses, featuring a solid-colored blouse with long puffed sleeves in orange, purple and green along with a patterned skirt in contrasting colors. The boys wear white shirts and pants, with a satiny shirt jacket in complementing colors to the girls and a bandana across their forehead.
The dance is a flurry of movement with the girls swaying their skirts back and forth, with the occasional twirl as the boys dance around them in a circle before the partners dance facing each other.
Teachers Cristina Deleon and Maria Palomo have rehearsed with their folklorico group since August. Before rehearsals began, neither instructor was overly familiar with the state of Nayarit, so it’s also been a lot of work to research and source the costumes for themselves and their students.
“We had to go all the way to Mexico City since there’s nobody here who can make this costume,” DeLeon said.
Both instructors were proud to see how well their students performed in front of the crowd.
“We told them just to have fun with it, and it will come to you because we’ve been practicing three days a week for the last few months,” Palomo said.
In the crowd, Jessica Anderson came with Jose Coronado and her son Julian to watch another performer, Jahzli Olivares, her nine-year-old daughter from Paredes Elementary.
Anderson and Coronado grew up coming to the Charro Days Fiesta events, and Anderson even danced in them herself as a child.
“We’re excited. I invited my mom, her great grandma and my brother flew in from Maryland, so he is going to come to watch her,” Anderson said of her daughter’s performance.
With the festivities officially in full swing across Brownsville, Charro Days Inc. President Henry LeVrier hopes that this year families will find what they have always found at this event: joy in celebration, a connection to our shared history and a moment together away from the rigors of daily life.
”It feels like everyone has gone through some tough times in the last couple of years. This event allows us to celebrate and be joyful — both for what we have and for the celebration, the fiesta, and the traditions this week,” LeVrier said.