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DONNA, RGV – The area now known as Donna was important for cattle drives in the 1880s and, city leaders predict, Donna will be important for trade once again when the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge is fully operational.

The storied history of the area will be celebrated on Saturday, February 11, with the 5th
Annual Chisholm Trail Festival taking place at Donna Square City Park, located on the corner of Main Street and Old Highway 83.

The Chisholm Trail Festival started in 2012 and is celebrated as a recognition of the 1800s cattle drives that started on the Rio Grande around the area that is now Donna. The trail is named after Jesse Chisholm, a half-Cherokee trader from Tennessee. He transported his goods through various trading posts located on the north-south trail. Millions of heads of cattle were driven along this route in the 1800s, a news release from Donna Events, Inc., explains.

City leaders believe Donna will be making history again once its international bridge is fully operational. “We expect that by 2018-2020 that we will have a fully functioning port for both empty and loaded trucks,” said Donna interim city manager Ernesto Silva.

The long-term plan is to connect the international bridge to the Edinburg International Airport free trade zone on State Highway 68, which is slated for expansion by TxDOT. With a bypass around Reynosa almost complete, Donna leaders are confident trucking firms will save time and money utilizing their bridge.

Storied History

At Friday’s celebrations, Dr. Celestino Avila Sr. will be honored as the “2017 Cowboy of the Year” at the Annual Roundup Dinner at the Donna Hooks Fletcher Historical Museum Courtyard.

For the activities on Saturday, a calling has been made to BBQ fanatics to participate in the Chisholm Trail Cook-Off. “A total of $3,000 will be given out in prizes to participants of the cook-off,” the from Donna Events, Inc. press release states.

Other activities to enjoy during the Festival are a 5K run, crafts, the opportunity to enjoy delicious food, drinks, live entertainment, and kid’s rides at the carnival.

“Every year the event is growing in interest and we may even have to move to an alternative site due to its great turnout,” Robert Escobar, president of Donna Events, Inc., said.

Escobar said he expects more than 18,000 attendees. Admittance to the event and parking will both be free to the community.

Headlining the Chisholm Trail Festival is Josh Abbot Band. Other performers that spectators can expect to see that evening are Bo Garza Entertainment, Jesse Flores y Eskandalo, Roy Solis, Southern Ashes, Jessy Serrata, Frankie Jr y Grupo Caballero, Zereno, T.G. Shepard, and David Lee Garza.

For more information on schedule of performances, follow Donna Events, Inc. on Facebook.