It’s almost time for the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival
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It’s almost time for the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival

It’s almost time for the 12th annual edition of the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival (LISCF) slated for July 18-20, 2014 at the Laredo Energy Arena (LEA), 6700 Arena Boulevard. Mexico will be well represented with 45 cities and 13 states that will set up for the three-day event on the floor and concourse of the LEA. Additionally, returning this year after a long absence will be Laredo’s namesake and Sister City, Laredo, Cantabria, Spain will be a part of the Festival.

“This is the kind of event where, as soon as you walk in, you are going to want to take a little something with you. The atmosphere is alive with cultural exhibits, some in the form of performing arts and most of it on display, distinct in each and every booth. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind experience, in the air conditioned comfort of the LEA, and to top it off, all with free admission,” stated an enthusiastic City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas

In an effort to commemorate the second decade of the Festival and to highlight the participants that have made it a success over the last 11 years, the event has developed an award honoring its exhibitors. This year, the LISCF will honor San Luis Potosi, S.L.P., Mexico. The municipal government of San Luis Potosi has a 10-year history attending the event with an organized a group of artisans to participate annually. This year, they will feature them inside 28 exhibitor stands. Last year, the state of Nuevo Leon received the first in this series of recognitions.

Once again, the Festival will feature an expanded line up of stage performances and sponsors. Laredo Community College (LCC) and International Bank of Commerce (IBC) are featured as Platinum Sponsors of the Festival and each will be featured in a booth at the main entrance of the LEA. AT&T, also a Platinum Sponsor, will be sponsoring the AT&T Wi-Fi Lounge, allowing participants instant access to post updates of the festival. Also supporting the event are BBVA Compass Bank and El Quinto Sol Restaurant as Bronze sponsors.

For the fourth consecutive year, the event will be the host location of the San Antonio Spurs Fan Experience and Caravan, appearing only on Saturday, July 19, 2014 between 2:00-4:00 p.m. The Fan Experience also features members of the Silver Dancers team and the possibility of a guest appearance by the Coyote, the Spurs mascot. The new championship trophy will not be in the caravan this year due to the fact that it will be touring the globe with the Spurs players, but the Fan Experience promises new highlights, added just for this appearance at the LISCF.

Also on display this year, participants can expect performances from visiting dance groups from San Luis Potosi. And to close out the three-day event, Sunday’s performances will include Laredo’s home-grown talent with some of the best groups and lively performers on stage throughout the afternoon. Those currently scheduled to take the stage live are Gabriela Mendoza-Garcia’s Ballet Folklorico; Mariachi America; Phoebe Marie; Elvis impersonator Luis Salazar; Cristina’s Center Stage of Dance; Patsy Quintero and Bel’s Dance Studio.

“This is a full package of experiences, you can shop, take in some music and live stage performances, soak up the wall to wall culture, tap into your inner Spur zealot, and visit Mexico without leaving Texas,” stated Blasita Lopez, Director of the LCVB. The hours of operation are:

  • Friday, July 18: Opening Ceremony @ 9:00 a.m.; Expo: 10:00 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 19: Expo 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 20: Expo 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The event opens with a splendid bilingual ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 18. The LEA is transformed over the three-day event to hold such exotic items as beautiful artisan produced and hand crafted furniture, leather goods, jewelry, clothing and food from across the Mexican republic.

Recognizing the importance of the Festival and the opportunity for exposure in the U.S. market, many Sister Cities have attended in delegations including their government leaders. This year, representatives are expected from the Mexican cities of: Monclova, Coahuila; San Luis Potosi, S.L.P.; Mazatlan, Sinaloa; and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas; and from abroad Laredo, Cantabria, Spain. Additionally, exhibitors represent: Aguascalientes; Guanajuato; Mexico City; San Luis Potosi; Coahuila; Estado de Mexico; Jalisco; Morelos; Nayarit; Nuevo Leon; Oaxaca; Puebla; and Queretaro.

This year there will be two reaffirmations signed on Saturday to rekindle the relationships between the three Laredos: Laredo, Texas, U.S.A.; Nuevo Laredo, Tamps., Mexico and Laredo, Cantabria, Spain. Laredo will also reaffirm its Sister Cities relationship with Monclova, Coahuila. Finally, new agreements will be signed with San Luis Potosi, S.L.P., Mexico and Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico respectively.

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