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One For All

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Ron Raposa, the dean of ex-pat journalists residing in Northern Baja, was justifiably excited last September when he let his readers on both sides of the border in on the surprise. For the first time in their 115 year history, the group acknowledged as the best mariachi in the world (el mejor del mundo), Mexico's Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan (http://youtu.be/4BfoYTwjjeQ), would be performing in Rosarito Beach. 2013's event was so successful that a 5th Anniversary celebration redux, featuring the same headliners, was immediately confirmed for this year. The date for this special occasion, October 4th, is fast approaching . Also returning for an encore performance is the United States-based all-female Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, (http://youtu.be/O1fPyC7VOcw) fresh off of winning their second Grammy Award. They are the only mariachi, regardless of gender, to achieve this milestone. In addition, their Musical Director, composer/arranger Alberto 'Beto' Jimenez, is also bringing his Mariachi Espectacular (http://youtu.be/QTPUaqXIWVg) to the party. And, as if that wasn't enough, to sweeten the deal, twelve other international practitioners of Mexican instrumental music, vocal skills, and folklorico dance from four different continents will be adding their special takes on the genre in another huge penultimate concert scheduled for Friday might, October 3rd.

A quick look at the itinerary for the four-day-long gathering of maestros, students and aficionados, will give the visitors to this epic confab an idea as to where they can get the most 'bang for their bucks'. However, please keep in mind that a visit to Rosarito Beach for any valid reason must also consider the great options for fine dining on nature's bounty (including the world renowned lobster village of Puerto Nuevo and Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico's answer to the best wine producing regions of the world) as well as the incredible beauty of Baja's answer to Big Sur, the Costa de Oro scenic highway. Never forget that Rosarito is just a convenient short (twenty minute) drive on a beautiful divided highway from the US/Mexico Border crossing at San Ysidro. More on that later after we explore the myriad opportunities at the Festival itself.

If you 're a student (last year's age range was 10 through 67 with all Levels from Beginner to Masters welcome), plan to check into the beautiful and historic oceanfront hostelry, the Rosarito Beach Hotel (www.rosaritobeachhotel.com) in time for dinner on Tuesday evening, September 30th. You'll be working with some of the best musicians, vocalists, and dancers in the world for the next three days, to hone your skills for the Inauguracion/Student Showcase/Professional Performances. The pageantry of the Banda La Guerra (Honor Guard) presenting the flags of all of the country's involved (at this time, Canada, Holland, Japan, Mexico, the Navajo Nation, and the United States) is a never-to-be forgotten experience etched into your permanent memory bank before the artistic activities begin. After the students play, sing, and 'strut their stuff,' the professionals will take the stage with amazing performances by Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson, also accompanying Nizhoni Camille Begay; Ballet Folklorico Tapatio; Mariachi Sonido de Mexico; Carolina de Holanda and Dwayne Verheyden from The Netherlands; Junko Seki (from Chiba, Japan) with her group Kotolan; and the Latin Grammy nominated Trio Ellas.

The night before (Thursday, October 3rd), a Rueda de Prensa (Press Conference) will be held in the Rosarito Beach Hotel's historic Salon Chabert to honor this year's world renowned inductees into the Festival's Salon de Fama (The Mexican Music Superstars Hall of Fame). The pageantry and elegance of this ceremony will be followed by a two hour 'Cocktails With The Stars' event where all those who choose to attend can wine and dine with the international performers, as well as have their pictures taken with their heroes by Baja's best photographers, PhotoVarna.

Saturday's finale will be a day long never-to-be-forgotten experience for all the attendees. The festivities begin with a Mariachi Competencia (set for 10:00 AM to Noon) pitting two of Mexico's best groups against two challengers from Estados Unidos. From Noon to 1:00 PM, ten vocalists from both countries will compete for the title of The People's Choice. This will be followed by a Baile Folklorico Competencia (which will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM), once again featuring the best-of-the-best from both sides of the border battling it out for supremacy. The mariachi and folklorico 'mini-Olympics' will be professionally adjudicated affairs with $5000 in prize money split up between the combatants. The vocal 'sing-off' will be judged by the audience. Ballots will be on sale for $2 each before the event and the most popular contestant will take away half of the funds collected while the other half goes to the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito.

Finally, after the stage is cleared and the sound checks are completed, the Concierto Extravaganza, featuring the aforementioned mariachi superstar groups AND special guest stars, will commence. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the concert is scheduled to start an hour later.

Prices range from $10 for single events to total packages for $100. Special rates for ocean front hotel accommodations have also been negotiated. To get all the information, please check out the Facebook event page, the website: www.rosaritobeachmariachifolkloricofestival.com or call Rosy Torres, the President of the Club de Ninos y Ninas de Rosarito at (661) 850-1773.

ALL...100%...of the net proceeds go to benefit the Club. The first operational location in Rosarito Shores is already serving the needs of up to 100 at-risk children per day while the second location in Lucio Blanco, presently under construction, will help 600 more per day reach their full potential. This causa noble... and this very special event that supports it... about to celebrate its 5th Anniversary is definitely ONE FOR ALL to enjoy and support.

See you there!

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