Guadalajara – About 40 mariachi groups from Sweden, the United States, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico paraded over the weekend through Guadalajara, capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco, to mark the start of the International Mariachi and Charreria Conference.
The musicians played songs made famous by the "charros," or Mexican cowboys, of the country's golden age of film, such as Pedro Infante, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Javier Solis and Jorge Negrete, during a march of some 5 kilometers (3 miles) Sunday along Guadalajara's main thoroughfares.
This year's edition of the International Mariachi and Charreria Conference will run until next Sunday paying tribute to the golden age of Mexican movies, officials said.
About 15,000 spectators were on hand for the parade, with 500 state and municipal police officers providing security, the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce, which organized the conference, said.
Nor did the light rain on Sunday's parade stop the musicians from playing to the crowd or from getting them dancing with songs like "El Noa Noa," "El Mariachi Loco" and "La Culebra" (The Snake).
Riding on colorful alegorical floats, the "Camperos" and "America" mariachis, two of the most renowned groups in the world, played all-time ranchera favorities like "El Rey" (The King) and "Si Nos Dejan" (If They Let Us).
Diana Negrete, the daughter of Jorge Negrete, was at the parade to join in the mariachi celebration of the 100th year since the birth of the "Charro Cantor" (Singing Cowboy), an iconic figure in the nation's moviemaking and musical history.
Along their route through Guadalajara's historic downtown district, the mariachis were accompanied by some 70 charros on horseback, and by traditional Mexican dance groups that on Sept. 3 will seek to break the Guinness record for the greatest number of people ever to dance to a Mexican melody.
For more than a week, and as part of the International Mariachi and Charreria Conference, a charro championship, concerts and public galas with domestic and foreign mariachis will be held with the participation of the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan ensemble, considered the best in the world.