International Abrazo kicks off BorderFest

HIDALGO — Southbound traffic to Mexico was shortly detained Thursday morning as Hidalgo city officials and more than 100 spectators walked in unison to the middle of the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge, where they kicked off BorderFest.

City mayors from Hidalgo and Reynosa have been meeting at the same spot for 40 years to exchange hugs as a gesture of goodwill. The traditional abrazo, or hug, marks the start of the festivities.

But even though officials from both cities have been expressing their willingness to work together from across the Rio Grande for decades, the friendship between the two has never been put to paper, Mayor Martin Cepeda said during yesterday’s ceremony.

“This morning we will make history — everybody right here — because this morning we will sign our sister city agreement, which will only make us closer,” Cepeda said after the hug. “It will now be official, where it had never been official before.”

Reynosa Mayor Jose Elias Leal and his wife, Elvira, met Hidalgo’s delegation at the middle of the bridge with their own support group. There the mayors exchanged gifts and bouquets of flowers for their wives.

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