Rock music and colorful masks highlight Calexico’s annual Mardi Gras fundraiser

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Attendees dance to the “Alamo River Band’s” classic rock performance.

CALEXICO   In the spirit of upcoming Fat Tuesday, the Calexico Chamber of Commerce hosted its 19th annual Mardi Gras fundraiser Friday with the theme of “A Beer Tasting Xperience.” At $25 a person, supporters of Calexico spent the evening tasting various beers and dancing to lively music.

In keeping with tradition, the fundraiser was held on Friday about a week from Mardi Gras, the day leading up the season of Lent, allowing attendees to have their fun before giving up a favorite part of their lives during the 40 days of Lent.

The Calexico Brewing Company offered craft beer for partiers to taste, including red and blonde ales.

The music for the evening was the Valley’s own “Alamo River Band,” led by Jeff and Lance Magin, who journeyed to the classic roots of the audience playing songs from The Beatles and other rock hits.

For Calexico, tradition is a big part of the celebration and one of the chamber’s time-honored traditions is the manner in which money is raised during Mardi Gras. Supporters purchase tickets that they use to vote for the Mardi Gras King and Queen.

This year, the Mardi Gras royalty contestants consisted of Luis and Anna Lisa Pacheco, Jason and Alma Wells, David Canez and Valentina Estes, Angel Esparza and Melisa Ruiz, Belinda and Scott Mills, Andres and Clair Luken, and Maritza Hurtado and Joseph Guillin.

As the evening progressed, excitement and tension increased with each tally of the vote until the moment arrived where David Canez and Valentina Estes were crowned the 2017 Mardi Gras king and queen.

“It is good to see every one here to support the city of Calexico by voting for us candidates for this year’s Mardi Gras fundraiser,” said Angel Esparza, one of this year’s candidates.

Money raised from the event will go toward the Chamber of Commerce to help support the city’s future events to raise money for various projects.