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Mexico delegation visits Goliad at part of Cinco de Mayo celebration


April 30, 2010 at 9 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.

Dana Portillo, 11, waits for the judges' decision to be announced in Goliad at the Cinco de Mayo festivities. Girls dressed in traditional Mexican costumes for the pageant.

GOLIAD - In the midst of rising immigration tension between the U.S. and Mexico, two cities united Friday in friendship and to observe a historical event.

Goliad hosted officials of sister city Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, to kick-off its 66th annual Cinco de Mayo celebration on Friday.

"In the times we are in today, it is important that these towns be united," Liz Maria Villarreal, director of education and culture for Hidalgo, said in Spanish.

The delegation from Hidalgo was treated to a wine and cheese reception before heading to the Zaragoza Society's queen coronation.

The delegation included elected officials, as well as a band and ballet folklorico dance team, who will perform on Saturday.

Despite language barriers, members of both cities found common ground in the history their cities shared.

"We're interconnected," said C.J. Snipes, Goliad city manager.

Goliad is the birthplace of General Ignacio Zaragoza and Hidalgo is the birth place of Zaragoza's wife, Rafaela Padilla.

The general led the much smaller Mexican army to victory over the French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. He became a hero throughout Mexico.

"It's an interchange of culture," Dinorah Villarreal-Rodriguez, sixth region proprietor, said in Spanish.

Goliad Mayor Jay Harvey and Goliad officials presented Hidalgo dignitaries with gifts representative of the city and state.

"It's with great pleasure to come. You all have been very hospitable," Hidalgo Mayor Eliud Lozano, said in Spanish.

Hernan Jaso, program coordinator for the Zaragoza Society thanked Hidalgo representatives for assisting and bringing a part of their tradition.

"We are enriched in your presence," Jaso said in Spanish of the ballet folklorico and musical group.

Lozano also invited Goliad officials to the annual Fiesta de Hidalgo in July.

"We hope you will come to Hidalgo for our annual celebration," Lozano said.



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