The History of Charro Days

Parade Float Children in Mexican costumes walk in the Charro Day Parade in Brownsville, Texas, 1942

Born to lift community spirits during difficult times, the Charro Days Fiesta arrives in 2018 celebrating their 81th Anniversary with the same dedication to bi-national friendship and respect for traditions that first captivated Brownsville 81 years ago.

In 1937, during the Great Depression, local business leaders searched for an antidote to the gloom that engulfed Brownsville and the rest of the country.

One year later, the community came together for the very first Charro Days to celebrate what made Brownsville unique: Its location on the border with Mexico and the rich cultural heritage enjoyed by Brownsville’s residents.

From the very first celebration, Brownsville residents and visitors dressed in the traditional costumes of Mexico and honored the Mexican cowboys -- the Charros -- who were heroes of the borderlands.

Horse-drawn, hand-made floats processed through downtown Brownsville in those early years, with marching bands from Mexico, soldiers from old Fort Brown and children from area schools dressed as charros and chinas.

Elegant costume balls, popular street parties and fireworks – all launched with a joyful yell, the traditional “Grito” – were popular back then and contribute to lively Charro Days celebrations today.

Over the years, Brownsville’s sister city of Matamoros has always been a key participant with Fiestas Mexicanas. In years gone by, international bridges were open during Charro Days, allowing family and friends to share the festivities. Even today, ties between the sister cities are celebrated each year with “Hands Across the Bridge”. In this ceremony of friendship, the mayors of Brownsville and Matamoros meet to officially begin the celebrations.

The Mr. Amigo Association became a part of Charro Days in 1967, honoring a Mexican citizen who contributes to friendly bi-national relations. Sombrero Festival, a three-day Washington Park street party with popular rock, country and tejano performers, was added in 1986.

In 2018, the Charro Days Fiesta celebrates its 81st anniversary.

Join us in making Charro Days 2018 on February 18th thru February 25th a celebration you will always remember.