HIDALGO – BorderFest returned with a bang on this weekend with an emphasis on Mexican-American culture intended to remind the Rio Grande Valley what it’s like to celebrate life with family and friends.

The annual event skipped a year due to the pandemic and even this year’s festival had to be delayed due to the rising number of positive cases earlier this year likely caused by the omicron variant. But as the numbers dwindled, the city of Hidalgo acted and seized the opportunity.

Due to the increased number in sponsorships, this year’s BorderFest allowed children 10 years old and under to enter for free.

“Usually it’s a little younger but this year, with all our sponsors, we were able to up the age to 10 and under so everybody could have a good time especially after the pandemic,” said Dianella Cantu, the event’s corporate sponsorship manager. “So, it made the event very affordable for families to come and have a good time.”

A few of the new sponsors were local such as IDEA Public Schools, Texas Farm Bureau and Big Dog Bar B Que.

The Mexican-American theme could be felt, smelled and heard throughout the event as even the warm 80-degree weather wouldn’t stop some event goers from having fun at the opening hour of 2 pm

Several food stands had Mexican-American staples such as spiropapas, tacos de bistek, trolebuses and more.

Alongside the food, event goers could also shop for unique and custom clothing and jewelry, cowboy boots, hats and more all while Spanish music reverberated from the main stage throughout the area.

“This year’s BorderFest theme is La Nuestra Cultura,” Cantu said. “So, we’re celebrating our own culture this year, like coming back and being stronger than ever.”

Luna Jaime, 10, places color on a set of maracas at Borderfest at Ed Payne Arena on Sunday, April 3, 2022, in Hidalgo. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Like most years, the event was free for Hidalgo residents so long as they showed proof of residency which just adds to the many ways one could save money while still enjoying themselves.

West of the main stage was the lucha libre ring as well as a designated zone for kids to enjoy special activities sponsored by the Creative Art Studio which was co-founded by Hidalgo Councilmember Augusto Contreras.

“Our main objective today is about taking fine arts to the community,” Contreras said. “To celebrate our culture, to celebrate who we are as a community, to tell the world that we’re back after two years with COVID.

“We’re back and we’re ready to celebrate who we are.”

Several tents scattered in the designated zone offered kids several creative outlets to express themselves, such as making and decorating kites, sombreros and maracas.

The area also had its own stage where children’s bands could play for the crowds.

Contreras said that the CAS has seen an uptick in enrollment, citing COVID as a reason why more kids want to get out and explore their creativity.

“Parents are more understanding that these outlets are so important for the children,” Contreras said.

To see more, view Monitor photojournalist Joel Martinez’s full photo gallery here:

Photo Gallery: BorderFest returns to Hidalgo after 1-year absence with emphasis on local culture

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