Laredo is definitely a melting pot of cultures. Within our city we can find many families, businesses, and entities from all over the world. Of course, being right on the border, we take great pride in both our American and Hispanic heritage. For this reason, events like the Sister Cities Festival are so important to the community and offer us a little taste of what we’re missing from our brothers and sisters from across.

Sister Cities is a celebration of Mexican culture as it brings together over 200 exhibitors and vendors representing across 60 cities from all over Mexico, all under one roof. From Tex-Mex, to authentic Mexican and Latin, there are literally hundreds of selections in terms of vendors all housed in the grand indoor mercado.

Join us in exploring through countless pieces including jewelry, clothes, toys, home decor, and even unique foods and ingredients, all authentic and made in Mexico. Sister Cities is a tour across the rich tapestry that is Mexican culture, bursting in color, personality, and crafted with dedication and love. However, it isn’t just Mexico this event brings together but also people from all over the world. It is an international expo that celebrates union and trust in one another as neighbors.

While Laredo is known as the “Gateway to Mexico,” its strategic location as the nation’s largest inland port makes it the “Gateway to the World.” Established under seven flags, Laredo now embraces a global culture with the influx of new nationalities, each with their own unique flavor. By creating this network not only with Mexico but with the world, we can learn from other cultures and share a bit of what makes each of us unique. It is a great privilege that Laredo lies at the center of this communion, and it is definitely quite the experience to just indulge in what the rest of the world has to offer. Whether you want a traditional new outfit or accessory, or whether you want to try some of that authentic Mexican cuisine, come on over to Sister Cities and show your support. The event is an entire weekend, spanning three days, July 13-15, at the Laredo Energy Arena. Admission is free. 

Owners of Cultura Beer Garden

By Maria Salas

Meet one half of a whole. Chris Contreras and Benny Contreras are two-fourths owners of Cultura Beer Garden. Their favorite past time, out of the many they have, is to have a good beer after a long day of work, which is perfect for their hobby turned business. Chris and Benny, along with their better halves, began their business from an opportunity that presented itself spontaneously. From the beginning, they have focused on bringing something new, different, and good to Laredo.

Cultura Beer Garden is a bar dedicated to offering non-traditional beer options to the community. They work with local Texas breweries to bring something new to the table. One of the things that makes them stand out from the rest is that they do weekly webisodes through their social media. Benny uses his hobby of audio and video technology to piece together videos to connect the community to Cultura Beer Garden. Chris is the one that stands in front of the camera talking about the hobby he knows best: beer.

When they’re not being beer gurus, Chris and Benny spend their time relaxing from their busy schedules. Chris enjoys riding his bike and playing music. Benny likes to drink beer and spend time with good friends eating good food, but as a true audio-video guy, he loves to play video games to unwind.

They’ve learned that working as a team is what makes Cultura Beer Garden such a success. Their most important and resounding advice to others wanting to start an out-of-the-box business is to basically go for it. If you have an idea, do it. They tell others to find like-minded people, set up a plan, and execute. No matter what comes your way, be relentless. They believe that if you want a genuine business, you’ll encounter genuine people.

They plan to grow and expand and keep offering the city things they’ve never tasted before. Here’s to hearing more about Cultura Beer Garden in the future. Cheers!