Texas Onion Fest satisfies attendees’ sweet tooth with food, entertainment

WESLACO — Hilda Petit had a confession to make yesterday: “This is my first time ever trying an onion blossom.”

The 31-year-old Brownsville resident expressed as much amidst a crowd of thousands at the Texas Onion Fest in Weslaco, where for 27 years the community has celebrated the development of the 1015 sweet onion, which was cultivated in the city and gets its name from the suggested planting date of Oct. 15.

Petit was among the minority in such an environment as dozens of hungry attendees waited in line for onion blossoms at the festival, which was held at Mayor Pablo G. Peña City Park on Saturday.

“We’ve tried one at a carnival before, but we were told that we have to try one at the Onion Fest,” she added, emphasizing “the” when referring to Onion Fest. “I can see why now, everything is really good here and so much better.”

She was accompanied by her best friend, Jonathan Longoria, 24, of Harlingen, who returned to the festival after a short hiatus. Like Petit, Longoria was impressed with the variety of food available.

“I came a couple of years ago with my family, but this is my first time coming back,” he said. “It’s been like seven years, but now I definitely want to keep coming back.”

Gates opened at 10 a.m. to an enthusiastic response, with the ever-popular onion-eating contest and the dancing horse shows entertaining spectators throughout the day. These were just some of the nuances the long-running event featured.

Among them were cooking and recipe competitions as well as live performances from some of the area’s more notable musicians. But it was the more than 20 food trucks and booths that stole the show, at least for those with an appetite.

According to Fran Billman, owner of Corn Maze Events in Donna, there was plenty food to go around.

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