Music, food, lucha: McAllen’s MXLAN 2024 to pack cultural punch

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Dressed in Aztec warrior colorful attire the South Texas College Ballet Folklorico perform during the MXLAN candela parade street dancing at Oval Park at the McAllen Convention Center Friday, July 28, 2023 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

MXLAN is returning more colorful, vibrant and festive than before with musical guests performing in what has been officially dubbed the Pepsi Music Stage.

The three-day will run from May 3-5 and will feature returning past attractions such as the Neon Nights 5K, Sabor a Mexico food festival and MXLAN Spirits: A tequila and Mezcal Tasting Experience.

The event will also feature the Calenda Parade, the Pueblo Magico Artisan Mercado and its Creator in Motion Art Project.

Prior to the festivities, the McAllen Convention Center will host the MXLAN Gala: A Celebration of the Arts, to bring awareness to the McAllen Performing and Cultural Arts Foundation.

The gala will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the McAllen Convention Center Grand Ballroom, located at 700 Convention Center Blvd. in McAllen.

Day one of MXLAN will be kicking off with its International Economic Summit on Friday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the convention center ballroom.

The summit will include keynote speakers Belina Roman, an associate professor of economics at St. Mary’s University; Erica Martinez Mott, general director of Grupo Estrategia Politica; and Duncan Woods, vice president for strategy and new initiatives, and senior advisor to the Mexico Institute in Washington.

Throughout the summit, there will also be three additional panels including the university president panel titled Investing in Educated Human Capitol; a real estate panel titled the State of RGV Real Estate: What does the future hold; and a bank president panel titled Future of Banking in the RGV, hosted by Lone Star National Bank, Texas Regional Bank, Plains Capital Bank and the International Bank of Commerce.

Tickets for the summit can be purchased online at www.universe.com.

The event will also feature the Sister Cities Trade Mission, an international partnership at MXLAN 2024. The city described it as a “landmark” networking seminar that will feature 15 speakers and delegations from McAllen’s Mexican sister cities of Apodaca, Monterrey, Victoria, and Puerto Vallarta — all hosted at the McAllen Convention Center to explore trade and business prospects.

MXLAN revelers enjoy the colorful festivities and food vendors Friday, July 28, 2023 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

“It aims to build strong business connections between visiting entrepreneurs and regional businesses to pave the way for enhanced binational trade, promoting economical cooperation,” said Daniela Plata, who leads McAllen’s international relations department, at an April 2 news conference.

In the evening, attendees can enjoy music from Lunar Heart, Selines and Rubio with Friday’s musical stage headlined by Los Aptos, a Mexican group among those pioneering sierreño music. Performances begin at 7 p.m.

Attendees can also participate in MXLANs annual Sabor a Mexico food festival, where over 15 restaurants will be displaying their culinary talent.

Tickets for Sabor a Mexico can be purchased online at www.universe.com.

The night will close with its annual Neon Nights 5K, which includes a medal, shirt and glow-in-the-dark gear. There is a $35 registration fee for the run.

To register for the event visit www.mcallenmarathon.com.

Day two, Saturday, May 4, will feature musical headliner Caloncho, a Mexican singer who was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award under the Best Alternative Music Album category. Other musical guests include Vanessa Zamora, Ceci Ceci, Brownboyz and Myrka Chapa.

Performances will begin at 6 p.m.

MXLAN’s Spirits: A Tequila and Mezcal Tasting Experience will feature a variety of cocktails, live music and five craft drinks that attendees will vote on which is MXLAN’s best craft drink.

Luke Halow with the Sharyland High School Mariachi Nuevo Cascabel along with other members perform in the Calenda Street Parade during MXLAN at the McAllen Convention Center Friday, July, 29 2022 in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor | dlopez@themonitor.com)

The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. and has a $65 admission ticket.

Day three, Sunday, May 5, will feature a two-hour “wrestling extravaganza” also known as MXLAN Lucha Libre. The event will include Blue Demon Jr., who will headline the event as well as wrestlers such as Pirata Morgan, El Hijo de Pirata Morgan, Black Cat Jr., Tiffany and others.

The event will kick off at 7 p.m. with tickets available online at www.universe.com.

Musical guests include headliner La Lom, a Los Angeles-based group that blends the sounds of Cumbia Sonirdra, 60s soul ballads and classic romantic boleros. Attendees can also witness performances by Alta Ralea, Desta Rench, Andria Rose and Dani Tiscareno.

Performances will begin at 6 p.m. McAllen will also host the Amistades Concert Series, an event that invites different dance studios both locally and across the border. The series will feature performances from dance groups such as Ballet Folklórico de Nuevo Santander, Instituto Tecnológico de Reynosa and the Ensamble Folklórico Mexicano from Nuevo León. The event will also include performances from Veracruz, Coahuila musicians and others.

Throughout the three-day event, MXLAN will also feature its Creator in Motion and La Comunidad Art Project.

This year’s Creator in Motion will be featuring two Oxacan artists including Irving Cano, who is returning to MXLAN for the third year.

During the conference, city officials explained that they would soon be revealing a surprise sculpture later this month that will be painted live at MXLAN by local artists.

Closing out each night of the festival will be the MXLAN Lights Fireworks Show beginning at 9:30 p.m.

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