The annual monthlong festival in Laredo, to be held from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, celebrates border culture and patriotism and draws dignitaries from both Texas and Mexico. It includes fancy balls, fireworks, parades, pageants and, of course, the Jalapeño Festival. The festival was founded in 1898, and the 2011 celebration will mark the 114th year of the event. Previous winners of the Mr. South Texas title include state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (yes, even women can be Mr. South Texas); and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.
Apparently, Straus, R-San Antonio, did not have to win a formalwear or swimwear competition to land the title of Mr. South Texas. Susan Foster, GWCA president, said Straus was chosen because of his commitment to South Texas. "His priorities for the state include promoting economic development, attracting new business and talent to Texas and ensuring that our children are educated and equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century, all of which are extremely important to us here on the border," Foster said.