Los Fresnos News

Rio Hondo Holds Bridge Pachanga

A boy uses a lasso to rope a steel roping dummy sled. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A section of Highway 106 in Rio Hondo was closed for most of the day on Saturday, July 13, but it wasn’t because of the lift bridge on the west side of the city.

The road was closed to allow the town to hold its annual Bridge Fest, an event created to bring people together just as other Rio Grande Valley cities have been doing for years.

It also came into being after the 65 year old bridge went through a $13 million improvement project that lasted about two years and created some discomfort with residents and travelers alike.

The Saturday fest included a parade and a block long area filled with vendors.

A concert stage was built only feet away from the bridge built in 1953 over the Arroyo Colorado.

Helen Hatch, a longtime resident of Arroyo City, said the fest is the second one held after the span reopened exactly a year ago this month.

“The bridge was closed for about two years,” she said. “It was a rough time.”

During the improvement project anyone driving toward Harlingen, Arroyo City or Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge had to make a detour using Williams Road.

Such an inconvenience was often a source of complaints by residents and business owners.

A Bridge Fest Committee was created and it held its first pachanga-styled celebration in July 2018 even though the bridge remained closed.

It, however, reopened late that month.

Lorena Pena, a committee volunteer, said things are now different.

“This is our second Bridge Fest,” she said. “This is now an event to bring the community together.”