Celebrating the essence of two cultures between the border towns of Brownsville and Matamoros is the Charro Days Fiesta. On its 80th anniversary, this historic event continues to bring hope to its communities during difficult times. Just as it did 80 years ago, the message of the celebration is the same dedication of creating “bi-national friendship and respect for traditions,” as shared through its website.
The seven-day bi-national festival kicked off on February 19th and ran through February 26, 2017. The Charro Days President, Lucy Escamilla gave the “official Grito” or joyful yell symbolizing the start of the events, which were jam-packed with traditional dances, a tortilla eating contest, a costume ball, the Grand International Parade, a children’s parade, an illuminated night parade, and, to top it off. an upcoming Charro Days Carnival with a World’s Fair Midway that you can still enjoy through March 5, 2017.
“In 1937, during the Great Depression, local business leaders searched for an antidote to the gloom that engulfed Brownsville and the rest of the country,” shares its website. Out of this concern was born the first Charro Days “to celebrate what made Brownsville unique: Its location on the border with Mexico and the rich cultural heritage enjoyed by Brownsville’s residents.”
From the beginning, residents and visitors would dress up in traditional Mexican costumes and honored the “Charros” or Mexican cowboys considered the heroes of the borderlands. Over the years Brownsville and its sister city Matamoros have played major roles in this celebration. “Ties between the sister cities are celebrated each year with “Hands Across the Bridge.” In this ceremony of friendship, the mayors of Brownsville and Matamoros meet to officially begin the celebrations,” states its website.
In what has been a time-honored tradition in these border towns has grown each year to truly celebrate the spirit of these two communities. There’s even a “Viva Charro Days” exhibit you can stroll through in the Historic Brownsville Museum located at 641 E Madison St Brownsville, TX 78520. Here you can go back in time to see memorabilia and photos of past Charro Days celebrations.
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