George Washington may never have stepped foot in Laredo, Texas, but that doesn't stop the town from throwing him the biggest and best birthday party in the US!
Every January, Laredo kicks off their Washington's Birthday Celebration, a month-long party that draws half a million visitors to the town each year. Founded in 1898, the event is in its 117th year and it is the country's biggest celebration of its kind. The party kicked off last night and runs through February 24th.
But…you may be wondering: why Laredo?
It's true that this Texan city on the U.S.-Mexico border doesn't seem the most likely stage for such an American celebration. In fact, in 1898, the city's culture was more Mexican than American and that was actually the reason it started. The original founders of the event wanted to infuse the city's Mexican culture with American patriotism. What better way than to honor the Father of our Country? The commemoration takes the best of both cultures, blending red, white and blue Americana with a Mexican fiesta, paying tribute to the spirit of George Washington while celebrating the diversity of the nation he helped build.
This year’s celebration is scheduled to include extravagant pageantry, two parades, a wine tasting, tequila tasting and (new this year) beer tasting, a carnival, the world-famous Jalapeño Festival and the Washington's Birthday Parade. >> Full events list
Here are some of the highlights:
Noche de Agave Tequila Tasting (Jan. 24) – Tequila aficionados can expect to sample various luxury tequilas (up to thirty) at this fundraising event!
Jamboozie (Jan. 25) – a Mardi Gras-style street party in Laredo's historic downtown. .
The Border Beer Fest (Feb. 1) – Laredo’s first ever celebration for beer enthusiasts. Enjoy an endless supply of music, food and of course, beer! Sample a selection or premium brews and vote on your favorites.
George Washington Performance at the American Historical Theater (Feb. 12) – features a presentation by George Washington and other historical figures. FREE!
Stars and Stripes Air Show Spectacular (Feb. 16) – This exciting event showcases vintage planes, with demonstrations by paratroopers and precision pilot teams.
Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant and Ball (Feb. 21) – Join the birthday-boy, George Washington and his wife, Martha, as they host this elegant event featuring spectacular and lavish Colonial dresses and costumes.
Fireworks Extravaganza (Feb. 23) – This Grand Finale event of the Celebration lights up the night with an amazing display of pyrotechnics. FREE!
View the complete events list here. Tickets to each of the events can be purchased online or in person at Laredo's Mall del Norte.
The Washington's Birthday Celebration truly has something for everyone!
For more ideas on events and fun things to do in Laredo, visit Tour Texas!