16 Things I Overheard At The Selena Festival

I went to Corpus Christi, Texas, to experience the first Fiesta de la Flor, a two-day festival honoring the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla.

The Fiesta de la Flor took place on Friday and Saturday to commemorate the life and music of the late Selena Quintanilla.

Norberto Briceño

There were a variety of musical acts, including Los Lobos, Little Joe y La Familia, guitarist Chris Perez — Selena’s widower — and his band, and A.B. Quintanilla y Los Kumbia King Allstarz. There were food trucks, a bar, vendors, and a mini–amusement park for kids, and it all took place in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas.

The event was declared sold out by the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Norberto Briceño

While this was not evident at first, it definitely got crowded by the end.

Here are some things I overheard:

1. “Mom! WHAT’S INSIDE?!”

Norberto Briceño

The festival took place in Bayfront Park in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas. Gates opened at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and there were A LOT of people. The weather was humid but manageable (at least for the time being), and the love for Selena fueled people to stand around for hours waiting to get in. The vibe was akin to opening day at Disneyland — not really sure what to expect, but knowing you’re in for something special.

2. “I love your outfit!”

Norberto Briceño

Norberto Briceño

 

There were some people who totally rocked the Selena look.

Like, for real.

Norberto Briceño

Norberto Briceño

 

Even kids had their Selena game ON POINT.

Norberto Briceño

Norberto Briceño

 

3. “MOM! CAN WE GET ON THE DRAGON! MOM! MOM! ¡AMA!

Norberto Briceño

There was an entire mini–amusement park for kids that included several inflatable bounce houses. While they were fun and all, this BOUNCE DRAGON was clearly the centerpiece.

4. “If you want water, you need tickets.”

Norberto Briceño

Norberto Briceño

 

Corpus Christi was at a steady 89% humidity for most of the weekend. It was hot, and if you wanted water, it wasn’t readily available. You couldn’t just buy it. You had to stand in a long line and wait to buy tickets (one ticket = one dollar). Only then could you wait in entirely different line to buy water. If you wanted food, you needed to wait in unbearably long lines to order. Was it irritating? Yes. But the love for Selena fueled everyone’s positivity (this is something that will keep coming up).

5. “This is the greatest sweet tea I have ever tasted!”

Norberto Briceño

There were many food trucks at the festival that served the best in South Texas cuisine. But there was one little green van that unanimously took the cake. Green Light Coffee served the best sweet tea I have ever tasted. Given that the humidity was horrendous, these guys quenched the thirst of many ticketless Selena fans.

6. “OMG! LET’S TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE TACO!”

Norberto Briceño

There was a Stripes taco walking around. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

7. “PARA BAILAR LA BAMBA…”

After all these years, Los Lobos still got it. They were the closing act on Friday night. While all the performers at the festival were great, Los Lobos took old school to a new level when they played their famous songs from the film La Bamba along with some of their greatest hits.

8. “The mayor has decided to end the festivities for tonight early due to severe weather.”

When it was announced that Los Lobos’ performance was going to be cut short because of weather, people were disappointed. And then they cancelled the screening of Selena altogether and people were like, “Ah, hell naw!” But then lightning lit up the skies and people were like, “Yeah. We should probably bounce.”

9. “Being Mexican-American is really hard.”

Norberto Briceño

The next day, the weather seemed OK (note: seemed). They played music videos, interviews, and clips from the movie Selena between musical acts. One of those Selena clips was Abraham delivering his outstanding monologue about the struggles of being Mexican-American. People watched and listened. When Abraham said his line, “Nobody understands how hard it is to be a Mexican-American!” those near the stage erupted into applause. It was a cool moment and one of bonding camaraderie.

10. “You guys getting a little wet?”

Up until Saturday afternoon, the festival had only experienced a slight drizzle at the most. And then, during Stefani Montiel’s performance, it started raining hard. Montiel tried taking the rain in stride, but at some point, it was too much to handle.

Even I spoke a little early.

11. “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

The rain got so bad, they quickly shut down the performance and fans scrammed for cover. People were running underneath trees, makeshift tents, and Styrofoam boxes. I ducked underneath a stranger’s umbrella, and we both bonded over how useless the umbrella was since the rain was coming in sideways. It was bad and everyone looked like they had taken a dive into the Gulf of Mexico.

12. “Selena totally planned this.”

About half an hour after the Fabulous Corpus Christi Shower of 2015, the sun came out, and Selena’s widower, Chris Perez, took the stage to play. “This is a sign!” said a fan.

13. “There’s mud in my shoes!!!!!!!”

Norberto Briceño

Although the skies were kind to the Selena fanatics, the ground was a completely different story. After the amount of water that poured on Corpus Christi after the Great Selena Pool Party of 2015, the ground at the festival became mud. There were actual pools all around the stage area… But the attendees did not care. They were here for Selena DAMMIT, and a little mud was NBD.

14. “I want to thank y’all for coming out to honor my sister.”

A.B. Quintanilla and the Kumbia King Allstarz were second to last on the card for Saturday night. I’m putting this down for the record: Kumbia King Allstarz know how to put on a show. There’s something about the cumbia genre that makes you want to cut the rug (or mud for that matter) and A.B. is a master at producing some sick cumbia beats. The Quintanilla family showed up to thank the fans, including Selena’s mom, Marcella Quintanilla, who, according to A.B., “never goes to any of my shows.”

They performed “Como la Flor,” which slowed things down and pulled everyone’s strings. Either way, they were the act of the night (in my opinion).

15. “Are you crying?” “SHUT UP! I’M NOT CRYING!”

After Little Joe performed as the closing act, fireworks lit up over Corpus Christi, Texas, and for a solitary moment, nothing in the world mattered. There were a few in attendance who draped their arms over one another and shared the beautiful moment with tears rolling down their eyes. A kid pestered his little sister about the tears she was trying to hold back. She screamed at him before looking back up at the sky.

It’s was a perfect, moving ending to a hectic day.

16. “My legs are hurting. Can we go home, Mom?”

Norberto Briceño

At the end of the day, people’s legs were aching. Their legs and feet were covered in mud. They were sweaty from all the humidity. Some of them were drunk and dehydrated. But that didn’t matter. After the fireworks display, the vibe at the park was akin to leaving Disneyland — you didn’t want to go. You wanted to stay and capture every bit of the Selena magic. But it was time to go.

There was rain. There was humidity. There was mud, dehydration, no electricity, long lines, and cancelled events. But despite all the hurdles thrown at Selena fans, they stayed strong and braved through the storm. Because…

ANYTHING. FOR. SALINAS.

EMI Latino

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