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Celebrating independence funding education for the future

By BY ERIN PRADIA - EPRADIA@VICAD.COM
Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:17 a.m.

Little Miss Cinco de Mayo 1st runner-up Cameron Bogle, 6, of Goliad, listens to instructions for the Miss Zaragoza Court's appearance at the fiesta.

Maygan Fuentes, 34, of Victoria, said Saturday was the first time she and her family attended the Dieciseis de Septiembre fiesta.

"Basically, we came to try the food," Fuentes said. "The food is great and the music is good."

Tejano rhythms floated across the fairgrounds where vendors from across Texas sold clothes, jewelry and homemade crafts.

The Miss Zaragoza court made an appearance to kick off the day also filled with dancing, games and cooking contests.

John Mendoza, 53, of Goliad, led the "Reel 'em in Cats" in the menudo cooking contest, competing against about nine other chefs.

Mendoza has earned second place twice in the past three years he has participated.

Mendoza prepares menudo for his family around Christmastime using a recipe he learned from his mother.

"I think the best thing out here is to have fun, that is what I shoot for," Mendoza said. "It's all for the kids and to raise money for the scholarships."

Dieciseis de Septiembre celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain. The community event Saturday was hosted by the General Zaragoza Society.

Event coordinator Hernan Jaso, 67, of Goliad, said the Dieciseis de Septiembre holiday is special to Goliad residents because Father Hidalgo, for whom Goliad was named, was credited with gaining independence from Spain in 1821.

"He raised the banner of the blessed Mother and said we need to stop the slave labor by the Spaniards," Jaso said.

The fiesta's proceeds will go toward the General Zaragoza Society's scholarship funds.

Jaso said the vision of the General Zaragoza Society is to aid in the education of local youths so they are able to become professionals.

"The General Zaragoza Society is strong minded toward education," Jaso said. "The future of our country is in the findings of tomorrow and we need to prepare by educating our young people."

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