Colors of Mexico on display in Port Arthur

Published 3:18 pm Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Mexican Heritage Society 2015-2016 Royalty

Mr. Jovencito – Desi Guerrero

Miss Preciosa – Sophia Garcia

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Tiny Miss – Kimberly Olguin

Little Miss – Liliana Heredia

Jr. Miss – Isalma Moreno

Miss Mexico – Briana Toribio


Port Arthur’s Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center was alive with the vibrant colors of Mexico Saturday during the 47th annual Mexican Heritage Society Festival.

There, people of all ages gathered to celebrate their roots, and to ensure that the customs of the United States’ south-of-the border neighbors are not lost on younger generations.

“It’s a beautiful cultures, the costumes, dances, colors,” Zita Downs, 52, of Port Neches said.

Downs, chairwoman of the annual Fiesta Queen’s pageant, said the girls competing are required to model Mexican costumes representing one of the country’s states, and to be knowledgeable about what their costume represents.

“It’s a good way for Mexican children to learn about their ancestors,” Downs said.

Downs said her father, was reared in Mexico, but moved to Port Arthur as an adult to work in the refineries.

David Castaneda, 32, of Groves and Ann Jannise, a Spanish teacher at Port Neches-Groves High School, are parents of a 3-year-old daughter who was entered in the costume contest, representing the state of Zacatecas.

Castaneda said he believes it is important to pass Mexican traditions down to his daughter.

“It helps you know where you come from and where you are going to go,” he said.

In her Spanish classes, Jannise said most of the students are not native speakers, but do enjoy learning the culture of their ancestors’ home.

While most in attendance reside in Golden Triangle cities Josephine and Manuel Heredia traveled from Monahans to see their granddaughter Liliana Heredia compete in the Little Miss pageant.

“She is really interested in the culture,” Josephine Heredia said.

Liliana represented the state of Chihuahua

In addition to the pageant, the day was filled with other cultural events including entertainment from a live Mariachi band, Mexican Heritage Folklorico dancers and musical performances by Internacional Sonora Carnival and La Nueva Maravilla, as well the opportunity to purchase items from local vendors and from food booths.


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