|Posted on 2/22/2016 7:34:00 AM.|
(Seguin) -- The El Fiesta Ballroom has plenty of its own reasons to dance and celebrate. The dancehall, located on the Interstate 10 eastboard access road, just west of State Highway 123 Bypass, 10 is preparing for a trip down memory lane as it celebrates its 40th anniversary on Saturday, Feb. 27 with special country conert featuring headlining acts, Tracy Byrd and Gabe Garcia.
Cindy Trevino Rangel, who today handles El Fiesta's day to day operations, says despite the difficulty in landing the loans and securing the land for the construction of the building four decades ago, her parents Johnny and Janie Trevino, surpassed any and all doubt that their business would survive and stand the test of time.
"It was my dad's dream. Well probably people in Seguin will remember the Royal Sport over on Collins Street. Manuel Castilla, he owned that and dad worked for him and he got the bug. He loved the entertainment. He loved seeing families gather. He managed it for him, so he said 'one day, I want to have my own place,'" said Rangel.
Rangel says once built, the family had to transition a bit from their original ideas for the establishment. She says their ability to give customers what they wanted ultimately led to some very successful years.
"Of course, our culture is Mexican. He wanted it for our culture, but of course, there was a place called Cuauhtemoc (Hall) in San Marcos which everyone frequent and that was the place to go. So we couldn't contract any of the talents. So we go,'what do we do now?' So then, they got approached by some of the local country/western bands that wanted to play at the venue. So that's where we started, with country, probably a good 10 years. Then we started eventually incorporating the Tejano, the quinces and the weddings that started to get bookings, but the first years were country/western. I pulled (and came) across an old contract with Tammy Wynette. She was probably our biggest talent and you know, I was young, so I vaguely remember, but Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, local bands like the Drifters, the Echos, the Abbys," said Rangel.
The entertainment business eventually entered a new phase allowing her father to finally get his feet wet in the Tejano music scene. Since the late 80s and early 90s, the El Fiesta has helped to bring plenty of Tejano fanfare to Seguin.
She says the most notable record breaking night was the crazy packed house for La Mafia and Emilio. Growing up at the ballroom, Rangel also recalls the successful music career of the late Tejano sensation Selena.
"Selena was another big draw when she first started. She was 14-years-old. I remember -- she's playing a video game. Maybe, we had like 75 people. From there, you know, she packed it in. She'd get her 1,500 - 1,800 (fans). Then, we had her right before she passed. I believe it was in February. Then that April (she passed) -- I recall that," said Rangel.
With 40 years of great memories and success, Rangel says the family owned business wanted to celebrate the same way it started in 1976 by bringing some top country artists to Seguin. To help make that happen, Rangel recruited longtime friend and business partner Kim Rodriguez. Rodriguez says it will definitely be a night you don't want to miss.
"Gabe Garcia will perform first at eight o'clock and then Tracy Byrd is the final performance. He'll be playing all of his music. Gabe is out of Nashville. He won Nashville Live. Of course, Tracy has had several number one hits, "Watermelon Crawl," Keeper of the Stars." Gabe's big hit right now on the radio, you'll hear -- it is "Missing." It'll be a good concert. We would love for the community to come back out. We've gotten so many calls. We have a couple coming in from out of Wyoming. We've got one coming in out of Montana and they're just calling in (saying) 'we want to come in for the Tracey Byrd concert,'" said Rodriguez.
As part of the celebration, Rodriguez says the Trevino’s wanted to continue their legacy in giving back to the community. She says proceeds, after footing the bill for the bands, will go directly to two special non-profit groups.
"We got with the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy (Center) and Trinity Oaks Guadalupe River Camp. It was Cindy's idea. She goes 'Kim what do you think about incorporating a charity?' I was like 'what do you mean?' She explained it to me and I was like 'yes!' For their 40 year anniversary, the Trevino's wanted to give back to the community -- not just celebrate on their own, but also give back to the community. I said 'that's an awesome idea Cindy.' So we picked these two charities. Ken Kiel helped us and furthered our link with them. Tracy Byrd is well aware of Trinity Oaks and Gabe Garcia -- they've always performed at several Trinity Oaks (events). Trinity Oaks is a nationwide charity," said Rodriguez.
Rangel says the family, which includes her other sisters, is truly grateful to the Seguin community for its support along the way. She says over the years, they have welcomed back the various generations who have celebrated special moments of their life at the El Fiesta.
"It's my parent's dream. Throughout the years, you go through well let's close it, let's sell it, but then you (say)-- we can't. The girls -- they all left with their careers and their families or wherever that took them, but I stayed here. It's fun. It's fun to deal with the public. It gives my mom and dad a lot of joy," said Rangel.
Perhaps what has also helped to drive success of El Fiesta, is the building's overall square footage. It's a large space. Rangel says it's a nearly 24,000 foot building, which includes a 6,000 square foot dance floor. That dance floor is believed to be one of the largest in South Central Texas.
In addition to being a dancehall, El Fiesta last year welcomed The Lunch Box -- a daily lunch restaurant serving home cooked meals daily. The restaurant is again an extension of what the building has to offer to the community.
The concert will be held from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. Doors open at 6 p.m. Concert tickets are $22 pre-sale or $27 at the door. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at various locations including at the El Fiesta, Gift & Gourmet and Seguin Radio KWED. VIP seating is also available by calling 830-372-0161.
|El Fiesta Ballroom, Tracy Byrd, Gabe Garcia, Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center, Trinity Oaks Guadalupe River Camp|