February is the month of love--so theres no
better time of year to celebrate the bond between Texas and Mexico. Perhaps
nowhere else along the border is that relationship celebrated with a bigger
party than in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
Much of the month of February is spent in party mode in
these sister cities which are separated only by the Rio Grande. Whether
you go for the fiesta fun, as a winter break to enjoy Laredos sunny
weather, or on a quick shopping excursion, youll find yourself quickly
falling in love with these nearby communities, located at the south end
GEORGE WASHINGTONS BIRTHDAY
What the reason for Februarys Texas-sized party?
Its none other than George Washingtons Birthday! The countrys
largest celebration of the first presidents birthday spans nearly
three weeks. With over a half a million partygoers, this event offers
everything from grand galas to child-friendly carnivals to fiery foods.
And, at the heart of all the festivities, is the international goodwill
which this event celebrates.
The origin of this festival dates back to 1898, when a
Laredo organization staged a mock battle for possession of the city. The
historic event culminated in an unconditional surrender when the Mayor
gave the key to the city to Great Chief Sachem, who then handed
it to Pocahontas, representing lost tradition. And just where
does George Washington fit into this picture? Coincidentally, Washington
was code named "Sachem" during his freedom fighting days when
the Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Native Americans. Because
of the Sachem connection, the organization picked the presidents
birthday as the date of the annual event.
Over the years, the festival grew, today holding the position
as the largest event in South Texas. Every year brings more activities
and celebrations to the calendar but tradition still reigns when it comes
to the festivals extravagant balls. Recalling the role of that Pocahontas
in the first celebration, todays Princess Pocahontas Pageant and
Ball features Laredo debutantes wearing Native American regalia, with
some gowns taking as long as two years to research and prepare.
And one of the longest running events is also one of the
festivals most touching: the International Bridge Ceremony. Recognizing
the love of the two cities, the event begins with a symbolic abrazo or
hug when two Laredo children embrace two Nuevo Laredo youths; leaders
from the two cities then follow and unite on the international bridge.
The event continues with the playing of both national anthems and the
remembrance of the friendship between the two nations. The ceremony is
followed by a spectacular parade.
For more on Washingtons Birthday Celebration, call
956-722-0589 or see www.wbcalaredo.org.
Back to Laredo Index
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