LAREDO, TX – The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) unveiled “Abrazo de Laredo” by Dr. Felipe Esparza as the official 121st Celebration’s Commemorative Poster for the upcoming 2018 festivities. The unveiling was held at the Laredo Center for the Arts, located at 500 San Agustin Avenue, on Friday, September 15, 2017.

“The parade best highlights the many events that make up the Washington’s Birthday Celebration. The Celebration is truly a community effort and brings together many gifted individuals, hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and that spirit that provides a platform for the “Abrazo de Laredo” to be shared,” said Dr. Esparza.

The WBCA Poster Unveiling has become one of the most colorful events leading up to the start of the Celebration. Since 1982, WBCA Presidents have selected local and regional artists to create original pieces to be used as the official commemorative poster.

This year’s commemorative piece is the featured work of Dr. Felipe Esparza, who was personally selected by WBCA President, Jeffrey G. Puig, to capture the essence of the 121st Celebration.

“When I first asked my uncle Felipe to paint the 121st Commemorative Poster, I just knew that he would be able to bring together every aspect of the Celebration. This unique and colorful piece brings forward all the highlights and history of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration, while embracing the rich culture and traditions of both the United States and Mexico right here in Laredo,” said Puig, WBCA President.

When asked of their selection to create the Commemorative Poster for the 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration, Dr. Felipe Esparza stated, “I would like to thank the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association for giving me the opportunity to create this unique piece of art representing Laredo’s Celebration.

Born and raised in Laredo, Felipe has always been part of a unique environment that lives in his soul. His parents, Jorge G. Esparza and Raquel Uribe, nourished his love for family, friends, and a relentless thirst for knowledge, and the value of tolerance and compassion. As educators, his parents instilled the value of education and its role in expanding a progressive vision of life. Having received a Catholic education through his early years. His teachers, the Marist Brothers, brought to the young minds of this border town experiences beyond its city limits and they stressed the importance of discipline and commitment to the truth. For Felipe, athletics established the value of both teamwork and competition, which together proved to be essential for his future success. Felipe was blessed to be introduced to art at a very young age and has been able to experiment with several mediums such as oil, acrylic, watercolor and charcoal. He continues to attend classes and workshops to expand his knowledge in the arts. His father, the first Mexican American to graduate as a civil engineer, blazed the trail for Felipe’s college education at Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas. There his love for science and biology prepared him to attain a Bachelor of Science in Zoology with a minor in Chemistry. He continued his education by studying International Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health where he received a Master of Public Health. Following acceptance at the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston his ultimate goal of becoming a Doctor of Dental Surgery was achieved. He was recognized for his specialty studies in Pediatric Dentistry. He returned to Laredo bringing with him specialized training as the first Pediatric Dentist in our community. To this day he continues an active pediatric dental practice devoted to improving the lives of his patients, community and profession.

His life has been blessed by his loving wife, Sandra Puig, his beautiful and talented daughters, Amanda, Audrey, Alyssa, and other family and friends.

This event is made possible with the support of Dos Marias Kitchen, Quiznos, Titey’s Cake Boutique, Abner Miranda Lighting, L&F Distributors and Southern Distributing

The 121st Celebration Commemorative Poster, “Abrazo de Laredo,” as well as any other WBCA souvenirs may be purchased at the WBCA office at 1819 E. Hillside Road. The commemorative poster will also be used for the cover of the official 2018 WBCA Program Book and invitations.

Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling Jalapeño Festival and much more.  Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and contribute an estimated $14 million every year to the local economy.

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association (ABA) because of the excellent entertainment value it offers to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.

The 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration takes place January 18 – February 19, 2018. Tickets for events may be purchased in early February at the WBCA Kiosk inside Mall Del Norte (at Macy’s Center Court).

For additional information, click on wbcalaredo.org, e-mail wbca@wbcalaredo.org, contact the WBCA office at (956) 722-0589, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit 1819 E. Hillside Road in Laredo, TX.