CORPUS CHRISTI - Over the weekend of April 17 and 18 Corpus Christi was host the first ever Fiesta de la Flor honoring the music and memory of Selena Quintanilla-Perez. Perez a local Corpus Christi resident rose to fame in the world of Tejano music with hits such as Como la Flor, and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.
It was a shock to the local community when the young singer was murdered in 1995 by former employee and fan Yolanda Saldivar. Selena’s music has remained a staple of the tejano music genre even though 20 years have passed since her death.
In the afternoon Mayor Nelda Martinez, Ashley Simper of the Corpus Christi visitors bureau, and Suzette Quintanilla gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to start the Fiesta de la Flor. “The reason we are all here is to celebrate the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla-Perez” said Mayor Nelda Martinez.
After the ribbon was cut the already browning line of people began to stretch farther down North Shorline BLVD where the entrance was located. Hundreds of people made their way to the fairgrounds in excitement for the days events.
Once inside visitors were able to purchase Selena merchandise which sold out before the events conclusion on Saturday evening. Visitors were also able to enjoy live music, food trucks, a kid zone, and alcoholic refreshments for those over the age of 21.
“I love this energy, it is making this roller coaster of a ride worth it so far” said Ashley Simper.
The humidity was high on Friday afternoon but that did not stop the fans from enjoying themselves and taking in all the festival had to offer. However the thunder and lightning made its way into the area and the event was evacuated due to safety concerns.
On saturday however fans once again gathered on North Shoreline BLVD not worrying about the chance of more bad weather. Though there was a heavy rain for part of the festival the sun came out and everyone was happy to continue making their way around the fairgrounds.
In between musical acts a large screen on stage played portions of the Selena movie and clips from past interviews the singer had done. With fans as well as the singers family watching everyone was happy to see her on screen.
“I am so excited and my family is so excited to have this celebration in Corpus Christi.” said Selena’s sister,Suzette Quintanilla. “I know that Selena has done countless interviews and talked about where she was from and Selena loved Corpus Christi so what better place to have this event than here?”
Ben Reyes made the trip from Arizona with his wife Rosemary and noted that the rain was a bit unexpected for them. “So far we are enjoying everything, we have never been rained on like that though.”
“We flew in from Washington just to come here,” said Jessica Lopez. “We always listened to her music when we were little and still do, I always watch the movie when it is on.”
One local man who chose to only be identified as “Meme” told us he had been taking pictures of her when she was just starting out in Tejano Music. He showed us the pictures he had taken, including a memorial photo of himself with the Singer that was removed from her tombstone.
“If you ever go to her gravesite, somebody took this picture of her gravesite, it was right next to hers,” Meme said. “If you ever go to her gravesite it says “Las vidas sus suenos nada mas, Meme” this picture was on there and someone unbolted it, I have to take it back to be put back on.”
Towards the end of the night A.B. Quintanilla who is the brother of Selena took the stage with his band, The Kumbia All Starz to pay tribute to his sister. Closing out their performance the group played “Como la Flor” in her memory.
The audience in attendance was now in the thousands and all of them were singing along to the hit song. Though the Saturday event was sold out it did not stop residents from lining up along the gates and singing from outside of the fairgrounds.
As the event came to a close a special fireworks show was given in a final tribute to the fallen star. Though 20 years have past since the singers untimely death, her memory is still alive and well throughout the country.