CALEXICOÂ â€“ Over 4,000 people made their way to the Gran Plaza Outlets for an early Independence Day celebration Friday evening held during the Art Walk and Fireworks on the Border event and hosted by Calexico and the Gran Plaza Outlets.
Residents from Calexico, Mexicali, Imperial, Brawley, Holtville, Westmorland, and some from as far as San Diego, all joined together at the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, enjoying a cold drink and good food, and listening to patriotic music while admiring numerous works of art.
â€œWe are very happy with todayâ€™s turnout,â€ said Celeste Jimenez, customer service manager for the Gran Plaza Outlets. â€œThis year, our attendance increased by at least thirty percent compared to last yearâ€™s celebration.â€
Sales began at the stores’ outside areas on clothes racks and tables stacked with discounted items which attracted shoppers inside for even more irresistible deals. Shoppers got great deals and most of the stores made huge sales.
With the high money exchange rates from Mexican pesos to American dollars that is close to 19 pesos per one dollar, Gran Plaza offered an exchange rate of $15.99 pesos per one dollar in form of a gift card that could be used at any of the stores located within the outlets.
â€œDefinitely, the money exchange we offered influenced todayâ€™s turnout,â€ said Jimenez. â€œThis also helped the stores make some much-needed sales while boosting Calexicoâ€™s economy.â€
Mexicali resident Sandra Gomez was thrilled after buying over $100 worth of clothing for her children.
â€œTimes are tough in Mexico right now, especially when we have to exchange our money at the current rate,â€ said Gomez. â€œWhen I heard that the outlets were having this event and offering a good exchange rate, I didnâ€™t think twice and made my way here early this morning.â€
Cooling misters throughout the plaza made shopping pleasant, minimizingÂ the hot temperatures while children played in the water park area.
As the evening progressed, attendees made their wayÂ to a cordoned off area to enjoy tacos, nachos, hot dogs, snow cones, shakes and ice cold beer while they waited for the fireworks show.
Numerous vendor stands offered an array of sale items such as t-shirts, art works, patio furniture, records, jewelry, hand-made soaps and plants.
â€œThe artwork makes this yearâ€™s celebration that much better,â€ commented Jimenez. â€œWe have something for everyone. Those who want to shop, those who want to sit and relax, and those who want to have fun.â€
Calexico residents Fernie Ayon and Brenda Delgado attended the event with their children.
â€œWe try to come out to these events whenever we have the opportunity,â€ said Delgado while sipping on a fruit shake. â€œThey are pretty cool and fun.â€
The evening ended with a spectacular ten minute fireworks show that lit the skies with amazing array of colors and lights celebrating Americaâ€™s birthday.[envira-gallery id=”80240″]