Saturday, March 24, 2018
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20180308 Borderfest GU6C0A1165There was something for everyone to flavor at Hidalgo BorderFest 2018. Strolling the grounds at the State Farm Arena there was the Spanish cultural attraction, plenty of entertainment and food delicacies to match the taste of festgoers, whether they were Winter Texans, year-round Valley residents or young people, including kids.

For those into the music scene there were a pair of indoor concerts plus five outdoor stages. The stages also included comedy, magic and hypnotism acts. Other options involved a dog and monkey show, a bloodless bullfight, a pair of white Siberian tigers on display, a car show, a Jurassic Kingdom show, plus three parades. A food court fed the hungry and for the kids, and adults too, there were carnival rides.

20180308 Borderfest GU6C0A1398For Paul and Denise Legault, first time visitors to the Valley, it was mainly learning about the culture, with BorderFest offering an Hispanic flavor as Spain was the country being celebrated this year. The couple, from Quebec, Canada, who are staying at Sleepy Valley Resort in Mission, were found at the replica 1599 Madrid, Spain plaza, known commonly as the Puerta de Alcala, where a play and dancing was taking place.

Being the first winter for them has been a myriad of adventures. Paul has found the Mexican culture intriguing and Denise said she has enjoyed the shows, especially the Mariachi music. She was also awed by a visit to the San Juan Basilica. They like the parades and the warm temperatures. Denise said how much she has enjoyed their resort’s activities, noting the organizing by the resort’s Robert Jacque.

“Seeing the culture and having good times” is what Nancy Swartz has liked in the 19 years she has come to stay at Southern Comfort in Weslaco. She comes from Pennsylvania and makes it a “girl thing” with two other women to do BorderFest every year. She was also joined by a cousin from Idaho. The atmosphere of the Valley had an impact on her friend, Donna Longworth, who in her first trip here has plans to buy a place so she can return each winter.

20180308 Borderfest GU6C0A1148Don and Bernice Kellett have been coming to the Valley from Manitoba, Canada for 10 years and the majority of those years have come to BorderFest. Don said they always come for the parade on Saturday morning to again experience the rolling throaty roar of the motorcycles before they even see the machines leading the spectacle.

The couple, who stay at Southern Comfort in Weslaco, enjoy the music of the stage shows at the festival. Don likes a variety of music that includes country and Tex-Mex. “We see as much as we can (of the performances).”

He noted a lot of the pavilion performers have also entertained at the resort parks and so their music is familiar. As they watched Greg Jones in the State Farm Pavilion, he did an Elvis Presley song and came down into the audience to serenade Bernice as part of the fun.

Another couple, Richard and Doris Taylor also came to the pavilion, but primarily to hear Curt James sing. They originally came from Iowa, but now are full time residents living in Elsa. Doris related that between 2006 and 2012 they had a bar in Mission. Most of the clientele who came to Lonesome Dove were Winter Texans. Now they are just flat-out retired, according to Rich.

The couple are also bikers and with their Harley they ride with others in the Thunder Horse Hog Club, which is sponsored by the Desperado Harley-Davidson dealership in McAllen. Rich recalled riding in the Saturday morning BorderFest parade with the other bikers, which included a free pass to the event and a few food vouchers. Doris used to have her own bike, but now rides with her husband.

Friends of the Taylors at the fest were John and Lois Wardell, who are also motorcyclists. He has been biking for some 65 years, while Lois has been riding 14 years. John said he came to the “valley” from Michigan for the first time in 1992, when he retired. The Wardells, have been full-time for 15 years now, living in Edinburg.

One of the best things in the Valley is being hot, John said. “It keeps me healthy,” he added.

Those associated with BorderFest see the little city of Hidalgo showing how a community effort can create a big American celebration with an international flavor that draws from all over the area.

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