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February 20, 2012

Spring 2012 No. 1

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:Denise:Desktop:EMAIL Templates:Charro days email_files:Parade, Grandkids, Grandkids clup  4x@300 dpi[1].jpgSeventy-five years ago, when Brownsville and the rest of the nation faced the most difficult of times during the Great Depression, Charro Days was founded to celebrate the spirit of our region and our rich binational ties with Mexico. This year, we have the opportunity to celebrate the diamond anniversary of our citys annual festival, and I invite you to help revive the spirit of Charro Days gone by to a time when everyone in the city would dress in traditional garb or costumes all week, when children would stand outside the ropes of a street dance and watch their parents whirl with the other couples, and when bull fights, rodeos and big band performances peppered the week of festivities.

 

If you were one of the lucky ones to grow up in Brownsville, you know that as a holiday, Charro Days ranked right up there with Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July. As children, we gladly gave up our recess time to learn the dances our schools would perform in the parade. Our feet would thump on the old wooden floors of the surplus army barracks behind the school. At my school, we practiced for weeks under the direction of the assistant principal, who rarely smiled, but boy, could he dance! Usually, only sixth graders were chosen because the 14-block parade route down Elizabeth Street from Palm to International was considered too long for the younger children.

 

Each Charro Days, after the childrens parade on Thursday, the city was officially in full celebration mode. Streets leading to Washington Park were closed as celebrants made their way to the square on foot. And everyone dressed for the occasion. I remember how little girls would watch their mothers replace their 1950s hairstyles with braids woven with ribbons, and little boys would admire the fine silver buttons on their fathers charro costume.

 

Our campus community has an opportunity to play a small part in preserving and remembering the beautiful culture and friendship we share and celebrate during this special time in our community. We have the entire week to celebrate. Perhaps starting tomorrow, you will join many of us who plan to come in full costume one day and wearing big golden earnings and ribbons of red, white and green the next. The gentlemen might sport everything from a fringed buckskin jacket, typical of the state of Tamaulipas, to a breezy guayabera from the state of Yucatn. 

 

Please join us in celebrating our local festival to the fullest. Let us create new memories that the generations who follow will one day also recall.  

 

Juliet V. Garca

 

The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College