BRAWLEY — The sounds and sights of mariachi music graced this city during the annual Mariachi Festival.
The Brawley Chamber of Commerce continued to keep the annual tradition — formerly known as “Mariachi Night” and previously held in Cattle Call Arena — alive, said Alexis Brown, event coordinator.
“The Valley is all about tradition, and tonight’s a night devoted to the (Mexican) culture,” Brown said.
The event was moved to Ed Wiest Field to accommodate the event’s growth, she said.
“This central location also helped with attendance. About 70 percent of participants came from nearby homes,” she said.
Brown said the chamber estimates the event grew in attendance from an average of 3,000 people to anywhere between 4,000 or 5,000, adding that the chamber appreciates all the event’s volunteers and the support of the community.
While coats and jackets could be seen in the masses, the community itself seemed to enjoy the event as a variety of local singers came up to the stage and sang their hearts out to the crowd to traditional and contemporary mariachi songs, with the help of Mariachi Calafia of Mexicali.
“It’s better than karaoke. You do it live and you don’t have the words in front of you,” volunteer stage manager Max Reyes said.
“The theme of the event is ‘Mariachi Night: Where you are the star of the night,’” Reyes said. “It gives the opportunity for the community to sing for the public.
“These people come out and sing like professionals. I’m very impressed,” he said.
“For us it’s beautiful. It’s something beautiful about the Mexican culture,” Calipatria resident Ernestina Garcia said as she and her husband bundled up and listened from their lawn chairs.
“We’ve been coming (to this event) for about 15 years,” she said. “I wish they’d (continue to) have it for a long, long time.”
“The crowd is into it and you have a lot of talent up there, too,” Westmorland resident Terry Delgado said.
“I’ll start learning songs for next year,” her daughter, Samantha Delgado of Brawley, said.
Staff Writer Roman Flores can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org