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Laredo, Texas

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Laredo in Texas.

 

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Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

Annual festivals

The Washington's Birthday Celebration (WBCA) is a month long event that celebrates George Washington's Birthday. It was founded in 1898 by the Improved Order of the Red Men, local chapter Yaqui Tribe #59. It is the largest celebration of its kind in the United States, with 400,000 attendees annually. The first celebration was a success, and its popularity grew rapidly; in 1923 it received its state charter. In 1924, the Celebration featured its first Colonial Pageant, which featured 13 young girls from Laredo, representing the 13 original colonies. The celebration includes parades, a carnival, an air show, fireworks, live concerts, and a city-wide prom during which many of Laredo's elite dress in very formal attire. The related Jalapeño Festival is one of the United States' top 10 eating festivals.

Jamboozie is held in late January in downtown Laredo as part of the Washington Birthday Celebrations. Similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, the Jamboozie is a colorful event, with many people dressed in beads, masks, and flamboyant outfits.

Recreational

The area around the Laredo Energy Arena has experienced substantial growth in recent years. Besides new housing developments, the area includes Hal's Landing, a restaurant/arcade that serves as a popular nightspot on the weekends. Also in the area are a few other bars/clubs, an upscale gym, and a small yet popular cafe named Cuadros. In development next to the Laredo Entertainment Center is a new baseball field that will house the Laredo Broncos.

Around the Springfield area, several restaurant/bars have set up residence. Some of these places include Agave Azul, Cosmos, Old No.2, and Lima Sol. This area has proven to be especially popular with the college crowd.

Lake Casa Blanca

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, located on Loop 20, contains a 1,680-acre (7 km2) artificial lake along with cooking out, camping, picnicking, lake swimming, skiing, boating, and mountain biking. The most popular recreational use of the lake is fishing. A boat ramp and fishing pier is available on the eastern side of the lake. The lake is a popular destination for winter Texans. The park was operated by the City of Laredo and Webb County before it was acquired by the state in 1990 and opened in March 1991.

Golf

Laredo has two 18-hole golf courses: the Laredo Country Club[36] and the Casa Blanca Golf Course.[37] The Laredo Country Club is an 18-hole private course that features 7,125 yards (6,515 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 74.6, a slope rating of 133, and has a par of 72. The country club was designed by Joseph S. Finger and was opened in 1983.[38] The Casa Blanca Golf Course is an 18-hole course that features 6,590 yards (6,030 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 72.5, a slope rating of 125, and has a par of 72. The golf course was designed by Leon Howard and was opened in 1967.

Parks, recreational centers, plazas, and baseball fields

The City of Laredo owns eight recreational centers, thirty-four developed parks, twenty-two undeveloped parks or under construction, five baseball fields, and four plazas. The parks total area is 618 acres (2.50 km2).

In the November 4, 2008, general election, voters approved by a 61-39 percent margin construction of a new baseball stadium to be built adjacent to the Laredo Energy Arena. Funding will be derived from a sports venue fund established through a .25 percent municipal sales tax. In 2009, the fund had some $15 million in reserve.

A memorial honoring the forty-one Hispanic soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor was built in Laredo, Texas in 2002. The plaza was named after the only Laredo Medal of Honor recipient David B. Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100 ft by 50 ft and is 308 ft tall making it the tallest flagpole in the United States. The memorial is located at 27°30′22″N 99°30′8″W.[44]

Museums

Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum is located in the downtown historical district next to the historical La Posada Hotel. It was once the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol building now showcases memorabilia from the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande. It displays pictures, books, and furniture from the 19th century Laredo area. It offers guided tours for school age children and adults year-round. Because of this Republic, Laredo had flown seven flags instead of the traditional Six Flags over Texas.

The Laredo Center for the Arts is located in downtown Laredo. The building houses three galleries: the Goodman Gallery, the Laredo Art League Gallery and the Lilia G. Martinez Gallery. The Center for the Arts, located in the former City Hall offices known as "The Mercado," displays regional artwork and provides community events for children and adults. The Laredo Little Theater provides Laredo with live stage performances. The theater also hosts comedians.

Imaginarium of South Texas (formerly Laredo Children's Museum), located in Mall del Norte, provides a hands-on experience with science, technology, and art for Laredo's youth. A second museum is planned on the Texas A&M International University campus.

The Nuevo Santander Museum Complex comprises restored buildings of Fort McIntosh, a historical collection of photographs of the fort, the main guardhouse, which contains World War I (1914–1918) memorabilia, and a science and technology museum.

Planetarium

The Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium is located on the Texas A&M International University campus. The Planetarium surrounds audiences in a dome with an accurate image of the night sky showing all the motions and cycles of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations in the sky.

Library and bookstores

The Laredo Public Library was first housed on the second floor of the City Hall, now known as the Market Hall, in 1916. In 1974, the Laredo Public Library moved to the historic Bruni Plaza in downtown Laredo. In 1993, the citizens of Laredo approved the construction of a new main library, which opened its doors on February 1, 1998. The Laredo Public Library has a 60,000 sq ft (6,000 m2). main library and two branches. The main library is located in central Laredo; the Bruni Plaza Branch is located downtown east of Washington Street, and the Santo Niño Branch is located in south Laredo.

After all B. Dalton bookstores closed nationwide, the Laredo bookstore in the Mall del Norte closed on January 16, 2010, Laredo became one of the largest cities in the United States without a mainstream bookstore. However, there are few locally owned bookstores.

Books-a-Million (the third largest bookstore fanchise in United States) is planning on opening a bookstore in the next few months. It will be located where the B. Dalton bookstore was located in the Mall del Norte.

Music

Laredo is a city that has been the subject of many songs in popular culture. One of the most popular songs being the Streets of Laredo. The song has been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings and Roy Rogers.

Another popular song is Laredo by country music star Chris Cagle. In the song, Cagle sings about the city of Laredo having a positive influence on his significant other. He relies on this influence to prevent his significant other from leaving town and encouraging her to return to him.

Top of the charts in 1978 in several Countries in Europe: Baccara with: "The Devil Sent You to Lorado". Baccara still sings the song in 2011!

Nightlife

Laredo has many known nightlife establishments. Around a section of Springfield street in North Laredo, several bars populate the area. Longstanding bars include Cosmos and Old No.2. Also, The LEA area is the location of several nightspots. The most popular is Hal's Landing, a restaurant/bar/arcade located right next to the arena. The LEA area tends to be very popular with the college crowd.

Other bars and clubs such as Average Joes and Rumors populate the city. Furthermore, on Iturbide Street in Downtown Laredo, bars such as Chelsea's and 311 service the homosexual community of the city.

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