Hundreds of students braved the cold weather Friday morning to kick off the Charro Days celebration at Putegnat Elementary School with a dance that entertained family members, who watched them perform to songs such as El Mariachi Loco wearing colorful dresses and Charro suits from Mexico.

The Fiesta Mexicana started at 9 a.m. when half of the students participated wearing the costumes from Mexico. The celebration continued at 1:30 p.m. with the rest of the kids and after dancing children and their families enjoyed nachos and more antojitos inside the school.

“It has become a tradition in our campus and it’s something that parents and students and the entire community look forward to,” Aidee Vasquez, principal, said. “We have every grade level, from Pre-K 3 to fifth grade perform a Charro Days, or a Mexican and cultural song and the kids get to dress up in the costumes and present their dances to the parents.”

The more than 400 students who performed as part of the celebration started practicing after they came back from the Christmas Break. This is the fifth yearly celebration at Putegnat Elementary.

“We usually start in January, right after Christmas. When they come back from Christmas the teachers start preparing the students because we try not to take any of the instructional time so they start preparing after school or during the day whenever they have some time,” Vasquez said. “Not all of them like to dance and that’s fine so it is voluntary but most of them always say yes.”

Vasquez said it is important for the students to embrace their heritage and that she hopes this celebration continues for many years to come. Some of the students will participate in the Charro Days Parade.

“Being so close to the border and then being so close to Washington Park where Sombrero Festival is celebrated and even to Elizabeth Street where the parade happens,” she said. “It’s just part of our community, it is something that the students look forward to and it is very important so that they know how important their Mexican roots are, their heritages.”

Rosa Balderas, who saw her 10-year-old son performing as a cowboy, said this is the first year she has attended the event but that she really enjoyed it. She will attend the Charro Days Parade with her son.

“I enjoyed everything because I was there since the beginning of it and I liked the little ones that started the show, I loved it,” she said. “I love to see the little kids when they dance and obviously I liked seeing my son, too.”