Grammy award winning musician and inductee to the Tejano Music Awards Hall of Fame, Ruben Ramos, kept the dance floor hopping on Saturday afternoon along with a lineup of musicians throughout the day.
“As far as I am concerned, Ruben Ramos is a legend,” Murrell Foster, executive director of the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, said.
And on the country-western stage, two-time Academy of Western Artists Western Swing Vocalist of the Year and winner of the academy’s Entertainer of the Year award, Billy Mata and Texas Tradition, brought western swing to the scene along with yet another lineup of musicians.
“I think that Billy Mata is the finest musician that is out there,” Foster said. “I always said if we book good talent that we will bring more and more people.”
Although no official attendance was taken at the Salsa Festival, there were 12,107 tickets sold for food and rides at 50 cents each, adding up to $6,053.50. Foster said the profits will go toward funding next year’s festival, which takes all year to plan with the final three months as the sole focus of the chamber.
“Even though we didn’t sell beer, we still sold almost as many tickets as we did last year,” Foster said.
According to Foster, this year’s festival also brought in a record number of 75 vendors, the previous record was 73.
Foster also said the nonprofit booths were provided free of charge for the Three Rivers and George West High School bands, Relay for Life, the Three Rivers Centennial Committee and the Live Oak County Boys and Girls Club.
The salsa competition brought in 24 entrants. The following are this year’s winners:
•Helen Troutman of George West won the Showmanship award.
•Dorothy Neal from the Breaktime Grill in Victoria won the best restaurant category.
• Red Daniels of Refugio won the People’s Choice professional division followed by Big Dave’s Salsa Colorado of Canyon Springs and Benny Ham from Whitsett in third.
•Grace Ham of Whitsett won the People’s Choice award in the amateur division followed by Dana Jo Kurtin of Galveston, and Marcus Selva of San Antonio in third.
•Big Dave’s Salsa Verde placed first in the Judge’s Choice professional division and Big Dave’s Salsa Colorado placed second as well. Benny Ham placed third.
•Grace Ham placed first in the Judge’s Choice amateur division followed by Kurtin in second and Kelly Salazar of George West in third.