Colores de México: MXLAN brings love, fills McAllen with dance, music, mercado

Edinburgh Dance Studio 956 take part in the Calenda Street Parade during MXLAN at the McAllen Convention Center on Friday July 29, 2022 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

McALLEN — Cheers emanated from the convention center grounds here on Friday night to the rousing sounds of horns, the rhythm of guitarrón bass and the whimsical melody echoing from the plucked strings of violins as the voices of mariachis vibrated through the atmosphere .

There was music in the air and excitement. There was also a mix of salty and sweet aromas that filled the night sky, where a little girl could be seen hoisted onto her father’s shoulders as the two swayed to the beat of the music, in concert with festival-goers celebrating life, love and culture. .

Revelers cheered on the Sharyland High School mariachi band on day three of MXLAN’s five-day race at McAllen over the weekend, when the street parade where they performed also made way for the marching band from McAllen High, and dancers wearing traditional Yucatan dresses affixed baskets of crosses. and flowers atop their heads as they shuffled and danced through the crowds.

Describing these events as merely celebratory would not do justice to high school performers and those who attended the event, which organizers say could reach as many as 81,000 people before the show ends on Sunday.

If those expectations hold, tens of thousands of people would have walked through the entrance of the McAllen Convention Center and felt transported to Old Mexico, with symbols of the old world greeting them as they arrived.

Rows of families and friends gathered along the street in Oval Park, Oaxacan artist Irving Cano drew attention to the mural he painted displaying vibrant colors depicted in a festive portrait, a mercado held inside the convention center featured vendors from Mexico selling items such as not-so-jewelry Easily found on this side of the border, clashes of Latin rock music from mariachi to EDM echoed from the ground, and everywhere you looked, plumes of pink, purple, blue and yellow colored the night.

An artist displays life-size paintings during the MXLAN festivities at the McAllen Convention Center Friday, July 29, 2022 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

It was Mexico at McAllen, and Laura Ramirez, 49, from Tampico, Mexico, loved every minute of it.

Ramirez attended the event as a vendor and saw MXLAN as an opportunity to represent his hometown through handcrafted handcrafted tejidos with traditional designs from Chiapas and Oaxaca.

“It’s important to bring out our Mexican culture as well as the work of unworthy people, whose work is very laborious and often not valued,” Ramirez said. “It’s handmade work with materials from Mexico that brings out the Mexican culture.”

Carmen O’Caña, 49, from Mission, was one of the many admirers of these handicrafts. Walking through the aisles of the craft market, it was as if she was revisiting memories of her childhood.

“It brings back memories of growing up in Mexico. I wear a handmade headband, I bought a little necklace with jarritos on it so it’s all just related to how I grew up and the memories of the toys I had when I was little, so I make sure to come out and buy some jewelry that reminds me of that,” O’Caña said.

For O’Caña, MXLAN gave her the opportunity to find items only found in the deepest regions of Mexico that brought a sense of authenticity to every item she purchased.

Vendors from various parts of Mexico, such as Oaxaca, attended the event where they displayed handmade shoes, shirts, dresses and jewelry embroidered with colorful flowers. O’Caña was particularly impressed with rebozos, a shawl-like garment that included more than just bright colors.

“There are so many different colors and designs…. there’s a lady who sells a rebozo and takes the time to sow some feathers so that adds to the design and adds to the whole look of the item,” O’Caña said, smiling in awe of the precision and the charm of the items, and expressing such enthusiasm about her that she wanted to rush to an ATM to get more money to buy as much as she could.

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