Coro­na­tion kicks off Mari­achi Fes­ti­val

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY JULIO MO­RALES Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The 27th an­nual Mari­achi Fes­ti­val Sin Fron­teras kicked off its four-day rev­elry on Wed­nes­day with the coro­na­tion of the 2018 Senorita Mari­achi Fes­ti­val. That honor went to 21-year-old Calexico res­i­dent Este­fa­nia Ve­lazquez, who rep­re­sents the lat­est in a long line of mo­ti­vated young women be­stowed with the priv­i­lege. Al­though Ve­lazquez ad­mit­ted hav­ing been re­luc­tant to ap­ply for the role, she said her com­mit­ment to pur­su­ing a higher ed­u­ca­tion and be­ing of ser­vice to the com­mu­nity had likely won over event or­ga­niz­ers tasked with mak­ing the se­lec­tion. “I work at the Ca­marena Li­brary as an aide and want to get a Mas­ter’s de­gree in math­e­mat­ics so I can be a math teacher,” Ve­lasquez said. For now, Ve­lazquez will busy her­self as an am­bas­sador for the city’s sig­na­ture event, which re­sumes to­day for its salsa show­down and Fri­day for its tequila tast­ing at the Car­men Du­razo Cul­tural Arts Cen­ter.

On Wed­nes­day, Ve­lazquez shared some of the spot­light with Las Flores del Valle Bal­let Folk­lorico and sev­eral Mari­achi Idol con­tes­tants, who took turns win­ning over the siz­able crowd with their ren­di­tions of pop­u­lar mari­achi songs.

The win­ner of the com­pe­ti­tion will even­tu­ally serve as an open­ing act dur­ing Satur­day’s mari­achi con­cert at Crum­mett Park, fea­tur­ing Mari­achi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuel­lar, Mari­achi Estrel­las De Chula Vista and record­ing artist Les­lie Lugo.

The an­nual event’s re­turn to Crum­mett Park was hailed by event or­ga­niz­ers as a wel­come de­vel­op­ment.

“Hope­fully, the weather will be as nice as it has been,” said Mayor Mar­itza Hur­tado.

Hur­tado wel­comed those present on Wed­nes­day to the kick­off event, and also thanked the Cham­ber of Com­merce for its ef­forts in mak­ing the an­nual event a re­al­ity.

Now in its 27th year, the event has been hosted in the city of Calexico for the past 20 years and is a per­fect fit for the bor­der city, said Hildy Car­rillo, cham­ber di­rec­tor.

“It’s part of our cul­ture and in all of our roots, and it’s won­der­ful to in­tro­duce to new gen­er­a­tions,” Car­rillo said.

That un­ex­posed new gen­er­a­tion was rep­re­sented on Wed­nes­day by more than a dozen Aurora High School stu­dents who will be serv­ing as vol­un­teers through­out the fes­ti­val’s events.

Al­though vol­un­teer­ing for the Mari­achi Fes­ti­val will dif­fer from her pre­vi­ous com­mu­nity ser­vice, se­nior Nayna Salais said she is nonethe­less look­ing for­ward to be­ing of help.

“I think it’s nice to help peo­ple and in­tro­duce your­self to the com­mu­nity and be part of it,” Nayna said.

Sim­i­larly, se­nior Ce­sar Parra said hav­ing such op­por­tu­ni­ties could go a long way to­ward fos­ter­ing a better sense of com­mu­nity.

“I think it’s awe­some be­cause it’s some­thing not every­body takes the time to do,” Ce­sar said.

Calexico Cham­ber of Com­merce Di­rec­tor Hildy Car­rillo and Mayor Mar­itza Hur­tado place the 2018 Senorita Mari­achi Fes­ti­val crown on Este­fa­nia Ve­lazquez on Wed­nes­day at the kick­off event for the 27th an­nual Mari­achi Fes­ti­val Sin Fron­teras. JULIO MO­RALES...

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