Debby Rektorik has a signature saying when it comes to describing the lengthy list of activities that are celebrating her hometown’s birthday in 2019.
“You’re only 100 once,” she will say.
Weslaco began on Dec. 8, 1919 when the W.E. Steward Land Company invited one and all to buy property lots that were put up for sale. Prices ranged from $50 to $400 per lot. For the next two days, individuals had the opportunity to make a property claim. They had to camp on the lot of choice until the day of the sale.
The town that would rise from the sales of those lots would be called Weslaco. The name is derived from the land company that gave birth to the city. In December 2019, 100 years later, Weslaco will look back at its century of existence while also looking forward to what city leaders see as a bright future.
“We’re doing our best to bring people together and get excited about all that we have going on,” said Rektorik, the vice chair and events director for Weslaco 100, a committee formed to organize the city’s centennial celebration. “We want to celebrate the past and present and look to the future as our city continues to move forward.”
The events for Weslaco 100 will intersperse throughout 2019 with a bevy of events running from Dec. 6-10. This is the same time period of the sale of property lots that gave birth to the city in 1919. Parade floats featuring the different decades of the city’s history will be a highlight during a special Weslaco Centennial Christmas Parade Dec. 7. A Saturday street dance that same night on Texas Boulevard will feature music from the last 100 years. Participants are encouraged to dress in the era they would like to represent.
Pioneer families and their descendants will also be a highlight through the event. The recognition celebrates their importance in laying down the roots of the community. There’s a neighborhood dance at La Plazita to bring back good vibes of yesteryears. A Fiesta Cien will run throughout the celebration days. The celebration features live music, antique shows, and displays and activities downtown on Texas.
Weslaco, as a city, has seen many memorable events and had its sons and daughters serve their country. In early 1943, a group of young men, 13 in all, got permission to graduate early from Weslaco High School so they could enlist together in the Marine Corps. One of those young men was Harlon Block, who, two years later, would be one of six Marines raising an American flag at Iwo Jima, in what is perhaps the most iconic image of World War II.
“The kids growing up today (in Weslaco), we want them to be proud of where they come from,” Rektorik said of what she hopes youth will get out of the Weslaco 100 celebration.