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20120922 Penitas White Wing Festival-lg-34 FEATUREPalmview High School’s conjunto La Tradicion performs during the Peñitas White Wing Festival on Saturday. Progress Times photo by Luciano GuerraPEÑITAS — The third annual White Wing Festival in Peñitas was a big hit among those attending last weekend. It was also a big hit for the non-profit Peñitas White Wing Festival board that organized and hosted the event. From the early morning cook-off and the 5K run/walk to the live music that began at noon and continued until midnight, there were plenty of activities for those in attendance.

White Wing Festival Board President Homer Tijerina was pleased with the event.

“It was better than last year’s festival,” he said.

The festival drew approximately 5,000-6,000 people, and over 3,100 tickets were sold for the carnival.

The Peñitas White Wing Festival board’s treasurer Becky Villarreal explained that the festival’s proceeds are used for community service and projects.

20120922 Penitas White Wing Festival-lg-29The Blue Devils cooking team from Edcouch Elsa was one of 12 teams competing for the Grand Champion cook-off trophy and cash prize during the Peñitas White Wing Festival. Progress Times photo by Luciano Guerra“The profits go back to the community,” said Villarreal. “We do community functions such as a Halloween Bash and a Christmas Posada and toy drive. We’ve also helped families that have lost their homes to fire or are in situations of need. So we’ve done a lot of community type service activities.”

Activities from this year’s event included a car show, a trail ride, a kid’s carnival and live performances by bands and school mariachi and conjunto groups. There were also vendors at the event, including arts and crafts, face painting and food. Among the tasty treats available were tacos, gorditas, tamales, barbeque tacos and sandwiches and even deep fried Oreos.

Even though it’s only in its third year, the White Wing Festival has already proven to be a very successful fundraiser, according to Villarreal.

“The first year this festival was put on by the City of Peñitas,” explained Villarreal. “Last year we became a non-profit board and it was the first year that we put it on. We raised approximately $10,000 with this function last year. This year, we are hoping to double that amount, if not more.”

The totals are not in yet for this year’s fundraising efforts; some of the monies still need to be collected, said Tijerina.

Headliners for the festival included the musical group The Hometown Boys, a Tejano-Norteño group, and Ram Herrera, a Tejano performer. Among the school groups that performed throughout the day were La Joya High School’s Mariachi Los Coyotes, Juarez Lincoln High School’s Mariachi Sol and Palmview High School’s Mariachi Los Lobos. Their conjunto counterparts, Conjunto Los Diamantes, Conjunto Sol and Conjunto La Tradicion also performed.

20120922 Penitas White Wing Festival-lg-33Jose Catellano from La Joya poses with his 1999 Corvette Stingray entered in the Peñitas White Wing Festivals’ car show. Progress Times photo by Luciano GuerraThe kid’s carnival included mechanical rides, moon jumps, a video game trailer and a mechanical bull. There were 40 entries in the trail ride, which ran for two miles and took approximately an hour to complete.

Twelve teams competed in the festival’s cook-off. El Mesquite cooking team earned the overall grand champion honors and walked away with the grand prize trophy and the $300 cash prize. The JP31 cooking team was the reserve grand champion, while the Texas Edition cooking team was named the winner of the best campsite competition.

The car show included 77 entries with Aaron Rivera winning the Best of Show trophy and the $100 cash prize with his 2007 Nissan 350-Z.

There were 123 participants in the 5K run with Charlie Trevino finishing as the overall male winner and Carmen Cruz finishing as the overall female winner.

While the White Wing Festival is for the most part a one-day event, it was preceded by a beauty pageant in which a queen was selected.

“This is a once-a-year one-day event,” said Villarreal. “However, we did have the coronation of our White Wing Queen and royalty on Wednesday. Clarissa Conde was crowned as our queen, our princess is Daniela Medina and our duchess is Aimee Treviño.”

Anyone interested in participating in the fourth annual White Wing Festival next year can contact the City of Peñitas and ask to be put in touch with Homer Tijerina, president of the White Wing Festival board or any of its members.

CLICK HERE for a full gallery of photos from the event.

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