Border towns celebrate unity

CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle
Gabriela Velez, left, 14, and Janie Balch, 15, both of Clovis, ride the train Saturday at the Border Town Days festival in Farwell and Texico.

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer

A hunk of brisket to his left, a white apron masking most of his shirt, James William, a member of the Texico Farwell Rotary Club, continued a tradition.

For more than 20 summers, Rotary Club members have prepared and sold barbecue food at this border town celebration.

In a festive straw hat, a cigarette dangling from his hand, William paused from his barbecue duties. “It’s really nice to see old friends,” he said.

His words were copied by many Saturday who attended the 40th annual Border Town Days festival, staged a few miles over the railroad tracks where two border towns meet.

“You get to see a lot of people,” said Farwell resident Paula White, her husband at her side.

Flocks of people picnicked on blankets, under trees, and near the Farwell Courthouse, a grand, brick building constructed in the 1900s. People shopped, listened to music, and waited in line for homemade ice cream.

The Border Days gathering started as a spin-off of a rodeo event in Bovina, Texas. These days, it is something else entirely, according to members of the Border Town Days Committee.

“That event diminished. Ours just kept going strong,” committee member Linda Ross said.

Nine local classes reunited Saturday at the Farwell City Park and a score of vendors peddled goods ranging from cookies, to customized posters, to handmade jewelry.
Roy and Judy Prather, husband and wife, drove 75 miles from Levelland, Texas, to sell picture frames and cabinets. The craftsman gathers his materials when ranchers tear down old wooden fences, he said.

“So far, business has been good,” Prather said, along with most vendors at the event.

An afternoon thunderstorm sent vendors packing early, however, according to officials with the Farwell Sheriff’s Department.

Rain or shine, Border Days always leaves some folks feeling sentimental.

“I love this town. It’s an old, down-home community with country values. You can’t hardly find that anymore,” Farwell resident Tony Raney said. “When you live so close, you have to work well together, help each other.”

“(Border Days) is all about family,” Lisa Schilling said. “Everyone here knows each other and cares about each other.”