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Crossroads residents share Hispanic culture (w/video)

By Elena Watts
May 3, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.
Updated May 4, 2014 at 12:04 a.m.

Victoria West students and ballet folklorico dancers, from left, Gabriela Garza, Lori Garza and Samantha Flores, all of Victoria, share a laugh before beginning their performance at the Cinco de Mayo celebration at DeLeon Plaza in Victoria.

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To read how Calhoun High School students celebrate Cinco de Mayo, click here.

Jorge Perez, 17, of Victoria, waited for his turn under the shade of a tent while other dancers with Victoria ISD Ballet Folklorico performed at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in DeLeon Plaza on Saturday.

The dance lieutenant was dressed in the traditional costume of the Mexican state Tamaulipas - tan, fringed suede attire with white decorative appliques. He has danced for 14 years.

"I was raised around all kinds of dancing," Perez said. "I like history, and these songs are historical."

Perez is originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, and attends dance classes to learn more when he returns to Mexico periodically.

"The dances teach us how Mexicans celebrated long ago," Perez said.

Perez choreographed the dances with the captain and instructed the nine dancers for the Cinco de Mayo performances. The group practiced three to four hours per day for two days before the event.

Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity to share Hispanic culture with the community, said Mario Vallejo, president of the Minority Business Council, which co-sponsored the event with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

Victoria's Cinco de Mayo celebration was free to the public. More than 8,000 people attended last year's performance, and Vallejo expected more to attend this year.

"We give scholarships in the fall to VC and UHV with the proceeds from the event," Vallejo said. "We have sponsors, and we charge for booth space."

Entertainment was provided throughout the day and evening by award-winning musicians including Jimmy Gonzalez Y Grupo Mazz, Chente Barrera, Vallejo, Los Hermanos Farias and A.S.G. Los Amigos.

Jars of Stella's Sassy Salsa, girl's tulle dresses, jewelry, purses and hair accessories were sold from tents that lined the streets.

Beer and soda accompanied an array of food options including tacos, barbacoa, turkey legs, blooming onions, funnel cakes, fried pickles, corn on the cob, kettle corn and snow cones.

Employees of Prosperity Bank supervised the row of bouncy play equipment in the children's area. Volunteers from the Boys and Girls Club of Victoria and Our Lady of Sorrows Teen Life assisted.

Morris Lee, 2, had an alligator painted on his forearm as his sister, Jasmine Lee, 11, and his mother watched.

"We came because my daughter had her last soccer game last Saturday, and I took my last exam yesterday," said Candice Lee, of Victoria. "This is a way to spend quality time together, which is very important."

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