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See Cumbia Living Legend Fito Olivares at this Year’s PACfest


  • Via Facebook, Fito Olivares

There are three things you can always expect at a Mexican wedding: mariachis, polvorones and "La Charanga."

Growing up with two parents from Laredo meant that the Fito Olivares’ "La Charanga" was synonymous with weddings for me. There was the toast, the bouquet toss and the Charanga — they were staples of any nuptial celebration. So when I started curating a playlist to give the DJ for my own wedding, you can bet "La Charanga" made it’s way to the list, along with several other of Olivares’ hits like "Juana la Cubana," "El Colesterol," "Josefina" and "Aguita de Melon."

For several San Antonians and other Texans from small border towns, hearing Olivares played at a party is a sign of a good time. It’s essential music for the dance floor and it can instantly change the vibe if things are getting aburrido.

During a recent lunch outing to El Mirador, "La Gallina" and "Rosa de La Reynosa" both played within the same hour, and I promise you, it somehow made my food taste better. And once, I was stuck on I-10 during rush hour and 107.5 KXTN (Tejano and Proud) played a mash-up of Olivares' songs, and, I swear, it made all my problemas go away.

And though I’ve never seen Olivares perform live (I bought tickets to see him once but my friend made us late and we missed the whole performance), I’ve always imagined that his concert would be something like a Saturday carne asada, but with a lot of dancing. Luckily, I’ll get a second chance to see him perform during this year’s PACfest, put on by Alamo Colleges.

From noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 27, Pacfest will take place on the Palo Alto College campus. The college’s Fiesta event will include several food and craft vendors, the fourth annual Fiesta Grilldown Carne Asada Contest, and performances by Fito Olivares y La Pura Sabrosura and co-headliners David Lee Garza y Los Musicales.

Be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chairs for sitting, though you definitely won’t be needing them when Olivares comes on.

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