Eighty years ago during the latter years of the Great Depression, Brownsville business leaders—wanting to alleviate the gloomy atmosphere—planned a parade to celebrate what made the city unique: its border location and rich cultural heritage. People donned traditional Mexican outfits and honored the Mexican cowboys who are considered heroes of the borderlands.

The Charro Days Fiesta, scheduled this year for Feb. 19-26, continues to bring together the sister-cities Brownsville and Matamoros to celebrate their bi-national culture and traditions.

The family-oriented festivities include three days of popular parades featuring floats, dancing and music. The BISD Children’s Charro Days Parade is Feb 23, the illuminated parade is Feb. 24, and the color guard and grand international parades are Feb. 25. All of the parades travel down Elizabeth Street through the historic downtown area.

The parades are just part of the activities that draw about 200,000 attendees to the weeklong event. The festivities kick off with the Baile del Sol Street Dance on Feb. 19, where attendees enjoy watching the beautiful costumes and energy of folkloric dances. The carnival, with more than 40 rides and attractions—such as the Tilt-A-Whirl, Pharaoh’s Fury, Zipper and Drop Tower—plus beloved carnival foods, runs Feb. 23-Mar. 5 at the Amigoland Grounds. Noche Mexicana with folkloric dancers, mariachi music and food is Feb. 23. As the week winds to a close, the costume ball Feb. 25 gives attendees an opportunity to dress in costume and enjoy dancing to the music of Mariachi 7 Leguas.

For more information and the schedule of events for Charro Days Fiesta, visit charrodaysfiesta.com or call 956/542-4245.

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