Posted: Feb 20, 2012 6:26 PM
Updated: Feb 20, 2012 10:09 PM
BROWNSVILLE - Tighter security for a Valley festival isn't enough for some folks. Violence across the border is scaring off bigger crowds.
Organizers are trying to make people feel safe. It's a tough task with gun battles mere miles away.
John is a Winter Texan who won't attend Charro Days this year.
"We have, we have. We just saw it once and that was enough for us," says John.
Many Winter Texans say they are concerned about their safety. Organizers are, too. They don't take part in the parade that starts in Matamoros and ends on this side of the bridge.
"It's very unfortunate that we can't participate in their events in Matamoros due to the situation that's going on," says Charro Days Executive Director Carlos Banales.
Banales says police presence will be felt at both Charro Days and Sombrero festivals. Last year, the city of Brownsville spent about $65,000 on security. They won't say how many officers will take part this year.
"Normally, when you have a lot more people and alcohol is involved, you tend to have alcohol-related incidents. I don't recall a major incident that we had during this time," says Brownsville police officer Jose Trevino.
Customs and Border Protection officers will also be watching over the festivities.
"There is a lot of undercover agents here. A lot of agents will participate in the parade this year. So we expect a good turnout just to let the community know it is safe to be here," says Trevino.
Residents hope the tradition of the event won't be marred by any violence. Brownsville police were holding meetings Monday to talk about security. They are going over everything so they can prepare for the unexpected.