Going Country With a Little Nashville

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Going Country With a Little Nashville

A country-western band performs as a recent Little Nashville event in Mercedes. (Courtesy)
A country-western band performs as a recent Little Nashville event in Mercedes. (Courtesy)
Residents and businesses turn out in downtown Mercedes to enjoy country music at Little Nashville. (Courtesy)
Residents and businesses turn out in downtown Mercedes to enjoy country music at Little Nashville. (Courtesy)

The last Thursday of each month, a little slice of Nashville comes to the Rio Grande Valley city known for its country western roots.

Mercedes is the home of the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and with a renowned history of boot-making. The city also hosts Little Nashville, now in its third year, on the corner of Fourth and Ohio streets in its downtown the last Thursday of each month. City leaders see it as an ideal way to tap into the city’s heritage and promote local businesses.

“It’s based on the country-and-western theme we have here,” said Armando Garcia, the vice president of the Mercedes Chamber of Commerce. “Mercedes is known for its boot-making with Rios (boots) and Camargo (boots) and the others we’ve had here, so the event ties in to that history.”

Little Nashville features live music of the country western variety and incorporates other varieties of music as well. The event is also a showcase for local businesses. Garcia said 15-to-20 vendors set up monthly with food, arts and crafts, fishing gear and products of different types in showcasing their services. The chamber touts Little Nashville as being “hot summer and cool nights” during the summer. From June to August, event-goers partake in evenings of live music, great food and refreshments.

“It’s a great way to promote local businesses,” Garcia said. “They have mentioned to us that the event has been very helpful in promoting our city and the businesses here.”

From April to October and November to March, Little Nashville goes from 6-9 p.m. in the city’s downtown. The event’s hours are 7-10 p.m. during the summer months.

The Little Nashville monthly event is just one element of Mercedes’ emphasis of offering live music in the Valley. The livestock show annually features several days of live music from country-and-western bands. Its fairgrounds are also of use year round for concerts. There’s also the city’s annual Texas Street Festival the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend. The festival attracts thousands from across South Texas with live music playing noon until midnight in downtown Mercedes.

The street festival like Little Nashville is an event planned and hosted by the local chamber.

“Many of these music concerts are putting heads in beds in our local hotels,” a chamber news release states on its website.

Ricardo D. Cavazos is a journalist and business executive who has over 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and publisher and is currently managing allied health schools in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo. Working for Freedom Communications, Cavazos served as editor of The Monitor for eight years and was publisher of The Brownsville Herald for 14 years. He also served as publisher of the Valley Morning Star for one year and launched two Spanish-language publications - El Nuevo Heraldo and El Extra. He is an Edinburg native currrently living in Harlingen.

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