Lifestyles

March 9, 2014

Ups and Downs at BorderFest Parade

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This weekend I had the opportunity of visiting Hidalgo, Texas with a travel writer from Sweden. I took him to experience a parade during BorderFest which this year celebrated Argentina. Camera and tape recorder in hand, Rolf (the travel writer) set out to find a story, and he ended up finding several. Everything about our people fascinated him, and there was plenty to see at the parade which began with classic and late model motorcycles and cars – Rolf loves antique cars so he knows plenty about them. We saw school bands, cheerleaders, mariachi bands, floats of several sizes and designs, zumba dancers and so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got there early so he could have an opportunity to interview some of the volunteers who gladly gave him tons of information about this award winning event. I was not aware that BorderFest was named by its festival peers as the best in Texas 9 years in a row, and the International Festival and Event Association honored BorderFest as the best of its kind in the world in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and again in 2012. That is very impressive considering the competition, but not surprising when one sees the entertainment lineup which this year included Selena Gomez, the Ultimate Michel Jackson Experience, Espinosa Paz among many others.


We soon found out there was a Korean delegation at the parade, and Rolf didn’t waste any time finding them, and asked a few questions. They told him they were here to help plan for next year’s celebration of Korea. That is when I got worried, for I did not see much of Argentina at the event. There were a couple of small food kiosks that were offering Argentinian empanadas and another delicacy I cannot remember the name, but that was it. The area designated to showcase Argentina was small and the village façade that was built was not very representative of the country in my opinion. They did have a Gaucho horse and dancing show and Tango dancing lessons and performances scheduled in a small section of the event grounds. It was not enough by a long shot. There were a couple of cute children’s floats, one with Diego Armando Maradona; Argentina’s popular and controversial soccer player, and some precious little dancers wearing the colors of the Argentinian flag.

So what were the Koreans going to think? I am certain they are very honored, but impressed? Maybe not so much, again only my opinion. Rolf did not seem to mind, he was having a very good time interviewing people. Expectations are not always good, for they can disillusion even the most positive of people, and I was expecting a more important presence from the celebrated country, sort of what I see during international travel trade shows where the local food and wine abound in spectacular settings. Maybe this celebrating a country is for the children, so they have an opportunity to learn about a different country each year. 


I have done some research and I found BorderFest’s mission statement and it says:
BorderFest is dedicated to the celebration of the diverse and unique cultural and musical heritage of South Texas and the border area, and to the perpetuation of that heritage through musical performances, the arts, entertainment, education and participation. It is now the largest and oldest such celebration in South Texas, attended by enthusiastic people of all ages, ethnicities, and tastes from Texas, many of the Unites States, Canada and Mexico.
The mission describes exactly the impression Rolf had of BorderFest, and so did I as you can see from the parade photos I posted. So where does Argentina fit in? Hidalgo is the home of popular Mexican musician, composer, and song writer of Norteño and Conjunto music who is also known as the King of the Accordion. One of the nicest floats was the one from the City of Hidalgo which featured a smaller float with an image of Ayala, so Rolf asked me who that man was. I explained, and then he wondered where he could hear some of his music. Unfortunately not at the parade, for several music genres were playing except the music of this local talent. But numerous Norteño and Conjunto musical bands did perform in front of thousands of spectators during the four-day event. It is the incredible musical variety available at BorderFest that makes it so popular. This year even included Charo and a Homage to Jenni Rivera.

These petty little details coming from the crazy mind of a picky perfectionist did not affect the positive energy of the hundreds of people that enjoyed the parade. Neither did the dark clouds, for people of all ages showed up, and we danced with every different group that paraded in front of us. Rolf was ecstatic, he loved every minute and took dozens of photographs that will be enjoyed by his Swedish readers, and at the end of the day that is the only thing that mattered.
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About the Author

Nydia O Tapia - Gonzales
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts,nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most important, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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