Who We Are
Sombrero Festival is a Brownsville original. Incorporated in 1985 for the first Sombrero Festival held in 1986, for the purpose of enhancing the spirit of Charro Days, Sombrero Festival is now the largest event in Cameron County, TX and benefits multiple non-profit organizations and causes throughout the community. The festival is held in Washington Park located in the Mitte Cultural District and on the edge of historic downtown Brownsville. The festival opens the last Thursday of February each year during the annual Charro Days holiday. We are a family friendly event catering to multiple generations with food, music, and fun for everyone. We offer kids rides & events, adult events, a wide variety of foods sold by independent vendors, and entertainment for all. Whether you're a Millenial or from the Greatest Generation you will find something to love about Sombrero Festival.
Sombrero Festival is a 501 (c)(4) non-profit corporation. Our officers and board members are all volunteers and most of them hold down full time jobs in addition to their year-round responsibilities with Sombrero Festival. Sombrero Festival, Ltd. makes donations to local non-profit groups who volunteer time at the annual event. Over the last several years volunteer groups have included Boy Scout Troops and Venture Crews, University and College groups, High School and Jr. High organizations & athletic teams, Local Fraternal Organizations, Church Groups, Civic Organizations, Junior Service Leagues, and other non-profit festival groups. Non-profit groups such as Rotary Clubs, the Brownsville Fire Fighters Association, and local churches also setup booths at the event and sell food items as a way of raising money for their non-profit causes. Additionally, Sombrero Festival makes contributions which support Recreation, Beautification, Tourism, and Higher Education in the community. Organizations which have received donations have included Hooked for Life-Kids Gone Fishing, the South Padre Island Walk for Women, STARS (South Texas Academic Rising Scholars), the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, and many more. The largest single donation was made in 2013 to the City of Brownsville. That year Sombrero Festival invested $90,000.00 on improvements and infrastructure upgrades to Washington Park to make it more event friendly year-round for any organization looking to hold events there.
Our average annual attendance is approximately 50,000 and we maintain affordable general admission prices relative to the entertainment lineup while also offering free admission times to ensure everyone in our community has an opportunity to attend. In 2020 Sombrero Festival is expanding free admission times and free kids rides to the first 4 hours each day, and children 12 and under are always admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
Sombrero Festival provides the single-best marketing venue during Charro Days and most likely year-round in the Southernmost Tip of Texas. Our 3 day event attracts a large cross-segment of the regional population and tourists who plan their stay to coincide with the local holiday by featuring well-known Mucis Artists, local music, up and coming musicians from across the state, and great classic rock, country, and cover bands. We also offer unique food-booths, popular events such as the Jalapeno Eating Contest, Waiters Race, Grito Contest, Charro Days Classic 5K run, Tortilla Frisbee Toss, Hat Stack Relay, and the only Charro Bean cook-off we know of, Frijolympics. As Sombrero Festival grows we continue to add fun events and opportunities for participation. We now offer a Sombrero Festival membership which includes mixers between September and January each year, an Annual Costume Gala held in mid-February and a Kayak Fun Race held in the resaca at Cobbleheads in February each year before festival weekend. Sombrero Festival is always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities to further promote the Charro Days spirit in our community year-round!