Grand Parade: Festival goers reflect on love of Charro Days

March 3, 2019

It took only 41 years, but Fulberto Montemayor finally fulfilled a promise to his wife, Mary — he took her to Charro Days.

The Montemayors, who live in Dallas, had front row seats by the Charro Days Headquarters on Elizabeth Street Saturday for the Grand International Parade, which featured more than 200 floats this year.

Fulberto, who grew up in San Benito, along with his brother, Rudy, who now lives in Chicago and joined his brother and sister-in-law Saturday, said they had fond memories of downtown Brownsville and Charro Days when they were younger.

“I remember I used to love to come here and go to the carnival,” Fulberto said.

As music danced through the air and the aroma of delicious food floated through the crowds, Rudy recalled how he and Fulberto would visit downtown Brownsville to go to the movies and hang out.

“We would come and just spend the evening eating popcorn and walking around,” Rudy said.

The atmosphere, which the trio of visitors loved, brought back memories for the brothers.

“Those are memories that you never forget,” Fulberto said.

As for Mary, she was having a blast and soaking in the festivities.

“I love the mariachis,” she said with a grin.

For Rosa de Saron Pastor Ramiro Guevara and his daughter Vanessa, the Grand International Parade is a day of enjoyment, but also of fundraising for their church.

“This is a big fundraiser,” Vanessa said outside her father’s food truck.

But the day is also festive and Ramiro said he likes to come every year.

“We just like to see all the people,” Vanessa said.

For Brownsville Night Lions President Lonnie Mayorga Sr., the Grand International Parade is two-fold: his club rents chairs to raise money for charitable efforts, like helping cancer patients or providing eye exams and glasses to children in need, while just enjoying the atmosphere and seeing old friends and making new ones.

“The best part of Charro Days is the Saturday Grand International Parade and all the Winter Texans are wonderful,” Mayorga said.

Autumn Nava, another member of the Brownsville Night Lions, said her favorite part of Charro Days is the Sombrero Fest.

“I like all the tribute bands,” Autumn said.

Her father, Santiago Nava, who is also a member of the Brownsville Night Lions, said he was a folklorico dancer during Charro Days when he was a kid and he’s attended the festivities all of his life.

“I love the parades, the interactions with the people,” Santiago said. “Growing up, I was part of the parade.”

Brownsville Downtown Lions Treasurer Tina Ruiz, who was buzzing up and down Elizabeth Street in a golf cart, said she loves Charro Days because seeing three or four generations of a family all together at a parade or an event is such a wonderful sight.

“It’s so wonderful to have all those families come downtown,” Ruiz said. “I just think that is beautiful.”