Brownsville, Texas, was established in 1850 on the banks of the Rio Grande. Every February since 1938, this thriving community of nearly 200,000 has joined its Mexican neighbor, Matamoros, to celebrate their shared cultural heritage. Charro Days burst upon the Rio Grande Valley scene in the depths of the Depression, bringing dances, parades, fireworks, boat races, and a rodeo to a dispirited populace. The celebration achieved instant success, followed by national recognition in magazines, radio, and television. Renowned dance bands and celebrities increased the enjoyment of revelers dressed in Charro costumes. As time passed, Charro Days evolved with the addition of events such as the Mr. Amigo presentation, which recognizes an outstanding Mexican, and the Sombrero Fest, which attracts a large number of attendees with its diverse entertainment.
About the Author
Anthony Knopp is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Texas at Brownsville and a former president of the Brownsville Historical Association. Manuel Medrano is also a professor of history at the University of Texas at Brownsville and a recognized expert on Mexican American history and culture. Priscilla Rodriguez is the executive director of the Brownsville Historical Association. Many of the photographs used in this history are from the archives of the Brownsville Historical Association.
Table of Contents
1 The Founding of Charro Days 11
2 Fiestas Mexicanas in Matamoros 33
3 The Golden Years 51
4 The Role of Children 67
5 Mr. Amigo 89
6 The Sombrero Festival 109