7D1_8983 7D1_9015 7D1_9050 7D1_9020 7D1_9032 7D1_8994 7D1_8960 7D1_8962 7D1_9083

HIDALGO, RGV –  The Hidalgo community begins the New Year with the announcement of a special themed celebration for the community.

With the upcoming Presidential Inauguration happening on Jan. 20, city officials hope this year’s Hidalgo BorderFest alleviates the concerns of many in the Valley community over a Trump presidency, reassuring them that community leaders and law enforcement stand with the public.

“We thought that it was current with the political climate, and it’s important that we celebrate our country and that the people, places, and things that make it so great, no matter if you’re Republican, Democrat or anything in between” said Hidalgo Mayor Martin Cepeda.

On Wednesday, Cepeda and other Hidalgo leaders unveiled “USA” as the theme for the 41st annual BorderFest. Following 2016’s celebration of “Brazil,” the event is now giving special attention to the United States “due to its current political events.”

The festival will further honor law enforcement, first responders, military, and veterans. As a thank you for their service, these individuals will, with proper identification, gain free admission to the festival.

“We are trying to honor our American heroes with all this turmoil that has been going on, especially law enforcement. We want to let them know that we care about them, our community and our country,” Cepeda told the Rio Grande Guardian.

Prior to the theme’s unveiling, Hidalgo City Manager Julian Gonzalez reflected on the success of the 2016 Brazilian themed BorderFest. He said it was the most successful BorderFest to date.

“Last year, as you know, we faced some challenges in trying to put the event together, and in spite of those challenges we had the most successful BorderFest of its existence,” said Gonzalez, referencing attempts by some to have the festival moved to McAllen.

Gonzalez hopes the 2017 USA celebration brings more success as admission, vendor pricing, and quality have been improved for affordability and a satisfying experience.

“We hope to offer again the fun, food, and quality that was presented in the 2016 festival,” Gonzalez said.

With regard to the challenges the BorderFest Committee faced in 2016, Mayor Cepeda briefly stated that the annual celebrations remain standing.

“We had to work on some of the dilemmas that we had last year at the festival, but the tradition will continue,” he said.

The 2017 USA BorderFest is set for March 3 – March 5, and its commencement will be signaled on Thursday morning, March 2, with the traditional ‘Abrazo,’ where the mayors of Reynosa and Hidalgo meet in the middle of the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge to share a friendship embrace.

The performance opening act will be Columbian singer “Maluma.” Current confirmed performers throughout the weekend include Matthew West, Jamie Grace, and John Wilson for the GOT Faith Music Festival. The complete line-up is set to be released during the first week of February.

In the days following the BorderFest opening, the Budweiser Grand Parade and an Illuminated Parade will take place on 10th Street, Saturday morning and evening respectively.

Education will also have an outstanding role at this year’s festival. A Children’s Curriculum Program, developed by local school teachers in Hidalgo, will provide students the opportunity to learn more about the U.S. in the week leading up to the festival’s kick-off. As part of their curriculum, students will be granted the opportunity to preview the Hidalgo BorderFest, free of charge.

“Not only do we aim to entertain, we also aim to educate not only about the culture that we are celebrating, but also to provide educational opportunities for kids,” said Shalimar Madrigal, marketing and media relations director for the City of Hidalgo.

From the exotic Amazonian animals and samba dancers at the Brazil BorderFest, this year’s entertainment will include sea lions, a white tiger show, and the Daredevil Motocross Show.

The BorderFest Committee expects more attendees this year. Last year, the event drew 80,000 guests throughout the weekend-long event.

“It’s a fun family atmosphere and we try to keep it that way, and we will try to have that setting not go away” said Mayor Cepeda. He added that he is proud the annual tradition is gaining more recognition.

Following the press conference, Cepeda told the Rio Grande Guardian that establishing political integrity was a key reason he and the BorderFest committee had chosen USA as the festival’s theme.

“We want to work together, we want to prosper, not only as a community but as a nation, and in order to do that we have to come together,” Cepeda said.

“Your president lost, another one won, it’s still our own country, we have to defend it and we have to work together.”