News Column

Mexico's 'Cultural Treasures' Coming to BorderFest

Nov 14, 2012

Amy Nichol Smith

Officials on Tuesday announced next year's theme for BorderFest: the "cultural treasures of Mexico."

BorderFest organizers will work with Mexico to accurately represent each state and its heritage. Beyond the usual carnival offerings, the festival will feature museum exhibits, artisans, acrobatic performers and musicians, said Shalimar Madrigal, marketing director at State Farm Arena, which hosts the annual March festival.

It's a far cry from when BorderFest was launched in 1976, when 500 people went to the event. In March 2010, nearly 90,000 people attended.

BorderFest and the Festival of Lights -- the two largest seasonal festivals hosted by the City of Hidalgo -- are highly decorated, having received a total of 285 Haas and Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards -- an international honor for municipal festivals -- since each event's inception.

Both BorderFest and the Festival of Lights this year took home gold Grand Pinnacle awards in their categories.

And the International Festival and Events Association presented the two local festivals with a total of 30 awards at a ceremony in September.

"Hidalgo is such a great community because it gathers around their festivals," said Steve Schmader, the president and CEO of IFEA.

Hidalgo City Manager Joe Vera and Assistant City Manager Kay Wolf were both inducted in the IFEA's Hall of Fame for their work on both festivals.

The BorderFest organization is a nonprofit entity that donates between $50,000 and $60,000 each year in scholarships to local students. The event strives to introduce diversity to Hidalgo through education, culture, music, art and entertainment.

Festival of Lights will celebrate its 22nd year with a Victorian Christmas theme, and the event will kick off Dec. 1 in downtown Hidalgo.

Source: (c)2012 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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