CALEXICO – With a week full of culture, food and dances, sponsors and guests wound down and enjoyed Friday evening tasting a variety of tequila and watching traditional folkloric dances at the 26th Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras held at the Carmen Durazo Arts Center.
The Tequila Tasting night is one of the most anticipated events of the festival as sponsors, city council members and guests joined in celebration of Mexican culture as thanks for their support and collaboration of the festival.
The Neighborhood Market and local food stands served tacos, hot dogs, nachos, Mexican desserts and refreshments as people settled in their seats and drank shots of tequila originating from Jalisco, Mexico.
“The ambience of this event is very joyful. I love everything about the culture, mostly the mariachi music and the food. Everybody steps in and makes this event successful,” said Ray Castillo, Imperial County Board of Supervisor for District 5.
As people enjoyed the art work of artisans and drank tequila shots, the group Las Flores Del Valle folkloric ballet presented various dance numbers that animated the evening and delighted the guests.
Renowned winner of the La Voz Mexico contest, Oscar Cruz and his son, Oscar Cruz, Jr., attended the event and performed at Saturday’s concert, the last day of the weeklong festival.
Also attending as guests were the members of Ballet Folklorico de Naucalpan, who performed at Saturday’s concert. Director of the group, Magali Montoya, said Hildy Carrillo, executive director of Calexico’s Chamber of Commerce, invited them to the event, and it’s their first time performing at the annual festival.
“We understand that here in the Imperial Valley people are very rooted with the Mexican culture, which we’re happy about. Therefore, through our performances we hope they will enjoy and revive certain dances from Yucatán, Veracruz, Baja California and Guerrero, Mexico,” said Montoya.
The dance group was created four years ago and is part of the Institution de Cultura de Naucalpan. The goal of the group was to reach out for young people who were victims of violence or abuse and keep them away from that environment. Giving adolescents an activity on which to focus, gives them an opportunity to have a healthier lifestyle and display their talent, she said.
“The team is very excited, because for most of them it’s the first time they’ve been out of the country,” said Montoya. “This experience has been amazing, so they’re ready to give their 100 percent of work and show the audience how appreciative we are.”
As the crowd laughed, drank, and ate, the winner of 2016 Mariachi Idol contest, George Prieto, gave a performance as he sang “El Rey.”
The event also featured raffles with prizes and a La Catrina face painting booth for guests.