Hundreds of Brownsville families turned out Monday for Fiesta Folklorica, the Brownsville Independent School District’s beloved dance festival at the beginning of Charro Days.
The fiesta is a medley of elementary school children performing traditional dances from various Mexican states in front of family and friends at Sams Memorial Stadium.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s real rewarding and we’ve loved being part of it,” Kathleen Jimenez, the interim director of BISD’s Fine Arts Department, said as the show was about to get underway.
Nine elementary schools danced in this year’s show, with estudiantina groups from Hanna and Porter early college high schools providing pre-show accompaniment. Sharp, Aiken, Cardenas, Gonzalez, Putegnat, Vermillion, Southmost, Keller and Resaca elementary schools performed. BISD divides its 37 elementary schools into fourths so that a manageable number perform each year.
Gerardo Cardenas and his wife Lupita got to the stadium in time to secure a front-row seat to watch their daughter, Cynthia, dance with the group from Vermillion Elementary as it performed “El Tranchete” from the state of Jalisco.
Cardenas said coming to Sams brought back childhood memories. He attended Clearwater Elementary, which was right next to Sams, in the early 1980s, “so it’s all coming back,” he said.
Nearby, Brenda and Peter Davila waited to see their youngest daughter, Gabriela, perform “El Jarabe Tapatio,” also from Jalisco, with her Resaca Elementary School classmates.
“It’s a family tradition of ours. Our mothers, brothers and sisters all went to Resaca,” Peter said.
Down the row, a family from Gonzalez Elementary occupied a cluster of seats with a good view.
“It’s exciting for the kids and enjoyable for us to watch them,” Dalila Vasquez said as the family waited for her daughter Viviana Vasquez to perform, “El Jaqueton” from Veracruz.
Dalila’s mother Maria Magdalena Carmona was seated just in front of her, and the whole family was there, mother and grandmother, father, grandfather and grandson.
“I would always take them to the parades on Thursday, Friday and Saturday every year until they grew up,” Maria Magdalena said.
The family arrived at 4:30 p.m. to claim seats along the front row near the 50-yard line.
But everyone in the stadium had a good view thanks to the new scoreboard, which displayed the dancers as they performed, the crowd in the stands as they watched, and the entire show.